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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Acute uric acid nephropathy.

Uric acid, as the end-product of purine metabolism in humans, presents a clinical problem because of its relative insolubility, particularly in the acid environment of the distal nephron of the kidney. As a result, states of enhanced purine catabolism increase the urate load on the kidney, leading to intrarenal precipitation. Major causes of increased purine metabolism are malignancies with rapid cell turnover, such as leukemias and lymphomas, and the added acceleration of cell lysis that occurs with chemotherapy and radiation. Serum urate levels rise rapidly, and acute renal failure occurs as a consequence of tubular deposition of urate and uric acid. The keys to the diagnosis of acute uric acid nephropathy are the appropriate clinical setting of increased cell lysis, oliguria, marked hyperuricemia, and hyperuricosuria. A urinary uric acid-to-creatinine ratio greater than 1 helps to distinguish acute uric acid nephropathy from other catabolic forms of acute renal failure in which serum urate is elevated. Preventive treatment involves pharmacologic xanthine oxidase inhibition with allopurinol and alkaline diuresis. Occasionally, acute renal failure occurs despite allopurinol because of the tubular precipitation of the precursor metabolites, such as xanthine, which accumulate with xanthine oxidase inhibition. Dialysis therapy may be required both to correct azotemia and to reduce the body burden of urate. Hemodialysis is preferred because it can achieve greater clearance than other dialysis modes.[1]


  1. Acute uric acid nephropathy. Conger, J.D. Med. Clin. North Am. (1990) [Pubmed]
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