Uric acid and serum antioxidant capacity: A reaction to atherosclerosis?

F. Javier Nieto, Carlos Iribarren, Myron D. Gross, George W. Comstock, Richard G. Cutler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

402 Scopus citations


Background: the evidence of a potential beneficial role of antioxidants in preventing atherosclerotic disease is not entirely consistent. Objective: to assess the longitudinal association of serum total antioxidant capacity and serum antioxidants with the presence of subclinical carotid atherosclerosis. Methods: Prospective case-control study nested within an historical cohort. Cases were 150 individuals with elevated carotid intimal-medial thickness measured by B-mode ultrasound at the first two examinations of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (1987-92). Controls were 150 age-gender-matched individuals with low carotid intimal-medial thickness. Serum antioxidant vitamins, uric acid, and serum total antioxidant capacity were measured in frozen serum samples collected from the same individuals in 1974 (13-15 years prior to the determination of case-control status). Results: Compared to controls, atherosclerosis cases had significantly higher levels of serum total antioxidant capacity in 1974 than controls. This difference was almost entirely explained by increased serum concentration of uric acid in cases. In contrast with cross-sectional results, uric acid serum concentration in 1974, was significantly higher in cases than in controls, even after adjusting for the main cardiovascular risk factors. Cases had significantly lower levels of α-carotene in the 1974 sera than controls, but no other differences in serum antioxidant vitamin concentrations were observed. Conclusions: The higher serum uric acid concentration seemed associated with elevated total serum antioxidant capacity among individuals with atherosclerosis. This finding is consistent with experimental evidence suggesting that hyperuricemia may be a compensatory mechanism to counteract oxidative damage related to atherosclerosis and aging in humans. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The ARIC Study is carried out as a collaborative study supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts N01-HC-55015, N01-HC-55016, N01-HC-55018, N01-HC-55019, 01-HC-55020, N01-HC-55021, and N01-HC-55022. The clinical centers, central laboratories, and the ultrasound reading center of the ARIC Cooperative Group, their institutions, co-investigators, and principal staff who contributed to this report are as follows: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Phyllis Johnson, Marilyn Knowles, Catherine Paton; University of North Carolina, Forsyth County: Shirley Cothern, Amy Haire, Kim Jones, Delilah Posey; University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson: Bobbie Alliston, Faye Blackburn, Catherine Britt, Barbara Davis; University of Minnesota, MN: Nancy MacLennan, Gail Murton, Linda Neal, Marilyn Nelson; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Joel Hill, Mary Hurt, Joan Nelling, Dorothy Nixon; University of Texas Medical School, Houston: Valarie Stinson, Pam Pfile, Hogan Pham, Teri Trevino; The Methodist Hospital, Atherosclerosis Clinical Laboratory, Houston: Wanda R. Alexander, Doris J. Harper, Charles E. Rhodes, Selma M. Soyal; Bowman-Gray School of Medicine, Ultrasound Reading Center, Winston-Salem: Kathy Joyce, Mary Lauffer, Suzanne Pillsbury, Tiffany Robertson; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Coordinating Center: Kiduk Yang, Ding-Yi Zhao, Jeff Abolafia, Hope Bryan.


  • Antioxidants
  • Atheroclerotic disease
  • Hyperuricemia
  • Risk factors
  • Vitamin concentrations


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