Do uric acid levels across the menstrual cycle show associations with endogenous estradiol (E2) and reproductive hormone concentrations in regularly menstruating women?
Mean uric acid concentrations were highest during the follicular phase, and were inversely associated with E2 and progesterone, and positively associated with FSH.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY
E2 may decrease serum levels of uric acid in post-menopausal women; however, the interplay between endogenous reproductive hormones and uric acid levels among regularly menstruating women has not been elucidated.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION
The BioCycle study was a prospective cohort study conducted at the University at Buffalo research centre from 2005 to 2007, which followed healthy women for one (n = 9) or 2 (n = 250) menstrual cycle(s).
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS
Participants were healthy women aged 18–44 years. Hormones and uric acid were measured in serum eight times each cycle for up to two cycles. Marginal structural models with inverse probability of exposure weights were used to evaluate the associations between endogenous hormones and uric acid concentrations.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE
Uric acid levels were observed to vary across the menstrual cycle, with the lowest levels observed during the luteal phase. Every log-unit increase in E2 was associated with a decrease in uric acid of 1.1% (β = −0.011; 95% confidence interval (CI): −0.019, −0.004; persistent-effects model), and for every log-unit increase in progesterone, uric acid decreased by ∼0.8% (β = −0.008; 95% CI: −0.012, −0.004; persistent-effects model). FSH was positively associated with uric acid concentrations, such that each log-unit increase was associated with a 1.6% increase in uric acid (β = 0.016; 95% CI: 0.005, 0.026; persistent-effects model). Progesterone and FSH were also associated with uric acid levels in acute-effects models. Of 509 cycles, 42 were anovulatory (8.3%). Higher uric acid levels were associated with increased odds of anovulation (odds ratio 2.39, 95% CI: 1.25, 4.56).
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION
The change in uric acid levels among this cohort of healthy women was modest, and analysis was limited to two menstrual cycles. The women in this study were healthy and regularly menstruating, and as such there were few women with high uric acid levels and anovulatory cycles.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS
These findings demonstrate the importance of taking menstrual cycle phase into account when measuring uric acid in premenopausal women, and confirm the hypothesized beneficial lowering effects of endogenous E2 on uric acid levels. These findings suggest that there could be an underlying association affecting both sporadic anovulation and high uric acid levels among young, regularly menstruating women. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and elucidate the connection between uric acid and reproductive and later cardiovascular health.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)
This work was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (contract # HHSN275200403394C). No competing interests declared.