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1.  Endogenous fructose production and metabolism in the liver contributes to the development of metabolic syndrome 
Nature communications  2013;4:10.1038/ncomms3434.
Carbohydrates with high glycemic index are proposed to promote the development of obesity, insulin resistance and fatty liver, but the mechanism by which this occurs remains unknown. High serum glucose concentrations glucose are known to induce the polyol pathway and increase fructose generation in the liver. Here we show that this hepatic, endogenously-produced fructose causes systemic metabolic changes. We demonstrate that mice unable to metabolize fructose are protected from an increase in energy intake and body weight, visceral obesity, fatty liver, elevated insulin levels and hyperleptinemia after exposure to 10% glucose for 14 weeks. In normal mice, glucose consumption is accompanied by aldose reductase and polyol pathway activation in steatotic areas. In this regard, we show that aldose reductase deficient mice were protected against glucose-induced fatty liver. We conclude that endogenous fructose generation and metabolism in the liver represents an important mechanism whereby glucose promotes the development of metabolic syndrome.
doi:10.1038/ncomms3434
PMCID: PMC3833672  PMID: 24022321
2.  ELEVATED SERUM URIC ACID LEVELS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH NON-ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE INDEPENDENTLY OF METABOLIC SYNDROME FEATURES IN THE UNITED STATES: LIVER ULTRASOUND DATA FROM THE NATIONAL HEALTH AND NUTRITION EXAMINATION SURVEY 
Objective
Experimental and observational studies suggest a role for uric acid in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We examined the association between serum uric acid levels and NAFLD in a large population-based study from the United States.
Materials/Methods
A cross-sectional analysis of 10,732 nondiabetic adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988–1994. Sex specific uric acid quartiles were defined: ≤5.2, 5.3–6.0, 6.1–6.9, and >6.9 mg/dL for men and ≤3.7, 3.8–4.5, 4.6–5.3, and >5.3 mg/dL for women. NAFLD presence and severity were defined by ultrasonographic detection of steatosis in the absence of other liver diseases. We modeled the probability that more severe NAFLD would be associated with the highest quartiles of uric acid.
Results
Compared to the 1st quartile, the odds ratio for NAFLD was 1.79 (95% C.I. 1.49–2.15, p < 0.001) and 3.14 (95% C.I. 2.63–3.75, p < 0.001) for the 3rd and 4th quartiles, respectively. After adjusting for demographics, hypertension, waist circumference, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and aspartate aminotransferase, uric acid (4th quartile) was significantly associated with NAFLD (odds ratio 1.43; 95% C.I. 1.16–1.76, p < 0.001). Positive parameter estimates suggest increasing uric acid is associated with greater severity of NAFLD.
Conclusions
Elevated uric acid level is independently associated with ultrasound-diagnosed NAFLD in a nationally representative sample of United States nondiabetic adults. Increasing uric acid is associated with increasing severity of NAFLD on ultrasonography. These findings warrant further studies on the role of uric acid in NAFLD.
doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2012.08.013
PMCID: PMC3565047  PMID: 23036645
hyperuricemia; NHANES; metabolic syndrome
3.  ALDH16A1 is a novel non-catalytic enzyme that may be involved in the etiology of gout via protein–protein interactions with HPRT1 
Chemico-biological interactions  2013;202(0):22-31.
Gout, a common form of inflammatory arthritis, is strongly associated with elevated uric acid concentrations in the blood (hyperuricemia). A recent study in Icelanders identified a rare missense single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the ALDH16A1 gene, ALDH16A1*2, to be associated with gout and serum uric acid levels. ALDH16A1 is a novel and rather unique member of the ALDH superfamily in relation to its gene and protein structures. ALDH16 genes are present in fish, amphibians, protista, bacteria but absent from archaea, fungi and plants. In most mammalian species, two ALDH16A1 spliced variants (ALDH16A1, long form and ALDH16A1_v2, short form) have been identified and both are expressed in HepG-2, HK-2 and HK-293 human cell lines. The ALDH16 proteins contain two ALDH domains (as opposed to one in the other members of the superfamily), four transmembrane and one coiled-coil domains. The active site of ALDH16 proteins from bacterial, frog and lower animals contain the catalytically important cysteine residue (Cys-302); this residue is absent from the mammalian and fish orthologs. Molecular modeling predicts that both the short and long forms of human ALDH16A1 protein would lack catalytic activity but may interact with the hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT1) protein, a key enzyme involved in uric acid metabolism and gout. Interestingly, such protein-protein interactions with HPRT1 are predicted to be impaired for the long or short forms of ALDH16A1*2. These results lead to the intriguing possibility that association between ALDH16A1 and HPRT1 may be required for optimal HPRT activity with disruption of this interaction possibly contributing to the hyperuricemia seen in ALDH16A1*2 carriers.
doi:10.1016/j.cbi.2012.12.018
PMCID: PMC3746320  PMID: 23348497
Aldehyde dehydrogenases; ALDH16A1; Gout; Hyperuricemia; HPRT1; Protein; protein interactions
4.  Fructokinase, Fructans, Intestinal Permeability, and Metabolic Syndrome: An Equine Connection? 
Fructose is a simple sugar present in honey and fruit, but can also exist as a polymer (fructans) in pasture grasses. Mammals are unable to metabolize fructans, but certain gram positive bacteria contain fructanases and can convert fructans to fructose in the gut. Recent studies suggest that fructose generated from bacteria, or directly obtained from the diet, can induce both increased intestinal permeability and features of metabolic syndrome, especially the development of insulin resistance. The development of insulin resistance is driven in part by the metabolism of fructose by fructokinase C in the liver, which results in oxidative stress in the hepatocyte. Similarly, the metabolism of fructose in the small bowel by intestinal fructokinase may lead to increased intestinal permeability and endotoxemia. While speculative, these observations raise the possibility that the mechanism by which fructans induce laminitis could involve intestinal and hepatic fructokinase. Further studies are indicated to determine the role of fructanases, fructose and fructokinase in equine metabolic syndrome and laminitis.
doi:10.1016/j.jevs.2012.05.004
PMCID: PMC3576823  PMID: 23439477
Fructose; Fructans; Fructokinase; Laminitis; Equine Metabolic Syndrome
5.  Uncoupling of VEGF with Endothelial NO as a Potential Mechanism for Abnormal Angiogenesis in the Diabetic Nephropathy 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2013;2013:184539.
Abnormal angiogenesis is a well characterized complication in diabetic retinopathy and is now recognized as a feature of diabetic nephropathy. The primary growth factor driving the increased angiogenesis in diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). While VEGF is considered an important growth factor for maintaining glomerular capillary integrity and function, increased action of VEGF in diabetic renal disease may carry adverse consequences. Studies by our group suggest that the effects of VEGF are amplified in the setting of endothelial dysfunction and low nitric oxide (NO) levels, which are a common feature in the diabetic state. The lack of NO may amplify the effects of VEGF to induce inflammation (via effects on the macrophage) and may lead to dysregulation of the vasculature, exacerbating features of diabetic renal disease. In this review, we summarize how an “uncoupling” of the VEGF-NO axis may contribute to the pathology of the diabetic kidney.
doi:10.1155/2013/184539
PMCID: PMC3872226  PMID: 24386643
6.  Uric acid-induced endothelial dysfunction is associated with mitochondrial alterations and decreased intracellular ATP concentrations 
Nephron. Experimental nephrology  2012;121(0):e71-e78.
Background/Aims
Endothelial dysfunction is associated with mitochondrial alterations. We hypothesized that uric acid, which can induce endothelial dysfunction in vitro and in vivo, might also alter mitochondrial function.
Methods
Human aortic endothelial cells were exposed to soluble uric acid and measurements of oxidative stress, nitric oxide, mitochondrial density, ATP production, aconitase-2 and enoyl co-A hydratase-1 expression, and aconitase-2 activity in isolated mitochondria were determined. The effect of hyperuricemia upon renal mitochondrial integrity was also assessed in rats treated with oxonic acid that inhibits the enzyme uricase that degrades uric acid.
Results
Uric acid induced endothelial dysfunction was associated with reduced mitochondrial mass and ATP production. Uric acid also decreased aconitase-2 activity and lowered enoyl CoA hydratase-1 expression. Hyperuricemic rats showed increased mitDNA damage in association with higher levels of intrarenal uric acid and oxidative stress.
Conclusions
Uric acid induced endothelial dysfunction is associated with mitochondrial alterations and decreased intracellular ATP. These studies provide additional evidence for a deleterious effect of UA on vascular function that could be important in the pathogenesis and progression of hypertension, vascular disease and renal disease.
doi:10.1159/000345509
PMCID: PMC3656428  PMID: 23235493
nitric oxide; mitochondria; endothelial dysfunction; uric acid
7.  The role of T cells in the pathogenesis of primary hypertension 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2012;27(Suppl 4):iv2-iv5.
Accumulating evidence indicates that T cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Here we review the investigations that have shown that T cells are infiltrating the kidney in hypertension. Interstitial accumulation of immune cells is associated with increments in oxidative stress and renal angiotensin II activity that result in the impairment in pressure natriuresis. The severity of salt-sensitive hypertension is directly correlated with the intensity of immune cell infiltration in the kidney. Reducing the renal infiltration of T cells prevents or ameliorates hypertension and the induction of tubulointerstitial inflammation results in salt-sensitive hypertension. The potential participation of autoimmune mechanisms in the renal infiltration of immune competent cells is discussed.
doi:10.1093/ndt/gfs421
PMCID: PMC3526981  PMID: 23036901
renal angiotensin II activity; salt-sensitive hypertension; T cells; tubulointerstial nephritis
8.  Redefining Metabolic Syndrome as a Fat Storage Condition Based on Studies of Comparative Physiology 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(4):659-664.
The metabolic syndrome refers to a constellation of signs including abdominal obesity, elevated serum triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and insulin resistance. Today approximately one third of the adult population has the metabolic syndrome. While there is little doubt that the signs constituting the metabolic syndrome frequently cluster, much controversy exists over the definition, pathogenesis, or clinical utility. Here we present evidence from the field of comparative physiology that the metabolic syndrome is similar to the biological process that animals engage to store fat in preparation for periods of food shortage. We propose that the metabolic syndrome be changed to fat storage condition to more clearly align with its etiology. Obesity in humans is likely the consequences of both genetic predisposition (driven in part by thrifty genes) and environment. Recent studies suggest that the loss of the uricase gene may be one factor that predisposes humans to obesity today. Understanding the process animals engage to switch from a lean insulin-sensitive to an obese insulin-resistant state may provide novel insights into the cause of obesity and diabetes in humans, and unique opportunities for reversing their pathology.
doi:10.1002/oby.20026
PMCID: PMC3660463  PMID: 23401356
hibernation; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; obesity
9.  Metabolic Changes in Summer Active and Anuric Hibernating Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72934.
The brown bear (Ursus arctos) hibernates for 5 to 6 months each winter and during this time ingests no food or water and remains anuric and inactive. Despite these extreme conditions, bears do not develop azotemia and preserve their muscle and bone strength. To date most renal studies have been limited to small numbers of bears, often in captive environments. Sixteen free-ranging bears were darted and had blood drawn both during hibernation in winter and summer. Samples were collected for measurement of creatinine and urea, markers of inflammation, the calcium-phosphate axis, and nutritional parameters including amino acids. In winter the bear serum creatinine increased 2.5 fold despite a 2-fold decrease in urea, indicating a remarkable ability to recycle urea nitrogen during hibernation. During hibernation serum calcium remained constant despite a decrease in serum phosphate and a rise in FGF23 levels. Despite prolonged inactivity and reduced renal function, inflammation does not ensue and bears seem to have enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms during hibernation. Nutrition parameters showed high fat stores, preserved amino acids and mild hyperglycemia during hibernation. While total, essential, non-essential and branched chain amino acids concentrations do not change during hibernation anorexia, changes in individual amino acids ornithine, citrulline and arginine indicate an active, although reduced urea cycle and nitrogen recycling to proteins. Serum uric acid and serum fructose levels were elevated in summer and changes between seasons were positively correlated. Further studies to understand how bears can prevent the development of uremia despite minimal renal function during hibernation could provide new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of human kidney disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072934
PMCID: PMC3767665  PMID: 24039826
10.  Higher Dietary Fructose Is Associated with Impaired Hepatic ATP Homeostasis in Obese Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(3):952-960.
Fructose consumption predicts increased hepatic fibrosis in those with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Due to its ability to lower hepatic adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, habitual fructose consumption could result in more hepatic ATP depletion and impaired ATP recovery. The degree of ATP depletion following an intravenous fructose challenge test in low versus high fructose consumers was assessed. We evaluated diabetic adults enrolled in the Look AHEAD Fatty Liver Ancillary Study (n=244) for whom dietary fructose consumption estimated by a 130-item Food Frequency questionnaire, hepatic ATP measured by phosphorus MRS (31P MRS) and uric acid (UA) levels were performed (n=105). In a subset of participants (n=25), an intravenous fructose challenge was utilized to assess change in hepatic ATP content. The relationships between dietary fructose, UA and hepatic ATP depletion at baseline and following intravenous fructose challenge was evaluated in low (<15 g/d) vs. high (≥15 g/d) fructose consumers. High dietary fructose consumers had slightly lower baseline hepatic ATP levels and a greater absolute change in hepatic α-ATP/Pi ratio (0.08 vs. 0.03, p=0.05) and γ-ATP /Pi ratio following an intravenous fructose challenge (0.03 vs. 0.06, p=0.06). Patients with high UA (≥5.5 mg/dl) showed a lower minimum liver ATP/Pi ratio post-fructose challenge (4.5 vs. 7.0, p = 0.04).
Conclusions
High fructose consumption depletes hepatic ATP and impairs recovery from ATP depletion following an intravenous fructose challenge. Subjects with high UA show a greater nadir in hepatic ATP in response to fructose. Both high dietary fructose intake and elevated UA level may predict more severe hepatic ATP depletion in response to fructose and hence may be risk factors for the development and progression of NAFLD.
doi:10.1002/hep.25741
PMCID: PMC3406258  PMID: 22467259
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Diabetes mellitus; Obesity; Fructose metabolism; Uric acid; Fructose consumption
11.  Urate Transporter Gene SLC22A12 Polymorphisms Associated with Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in Caucasians with Hypertension 
Kidney & blood pressure research  2012;35(6):477-482.
Background/Aims
Hyperuricemia is associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome. URAT1 is a urate transporter, and we tested the association of URAT1 transporter gene (SLC22A12) polymorphisms with obesity and the metabolic syndrome in hypertensive subjects.
Methods
Patients with essential hypertension (n = 414) from a randomized controlled study were genotyped for SLC22A12 SNPs rs11602903, rs505802 and rs11231825.
Results
In Caucasians, SLC22A12 SNPs were associated with the body mass index (BMI). rs11602903 was associated with BMI (p < 0.0001), waist circumference (p = 0.003), HDL cholesterol (p = 0.018) and the metabolic syndrome (p = 0.033), and accounted for 7% of the variation of BMI in Caucasians. In African Americans, SLC22A12 SNP rs11602903 was not associated with BMI, waist circumference, HDL cholesterol or triglycerides.
Conclusion
The URAT1 gene SLC22A12 polymorphism may play a role in obesity and the metabolic syndrome in Caucasian hypertensive subjects.
doi:10.1159/000337370
PMCID: PMC3480975  PMID: 22688828
Hypertension; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity; SLC22A12 polymorphisms; URAT1; Uric acid
12.  Endothelial dysfunction as a potential contributor in diabetic nephropathy 
Nature reviews. Nephrology  2010;7(1):36-44.
The mechanisms that drive the development of diabetic nephropathy remain undetermined. Only 30–40% of patients with diabetes mellitus develop overt nephropathy, which suggests that other contributing factors besides the diabetic state are required for the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Endothelial dysfunction is associated with human diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy, and advanced diabetic glomerulopathy often exhibits thrombotic microangiopathy, including glomerular capillary microaneurysms and mesangiolysis, which are typical manifestations of endothelial dysfunction in the glomerulus. Likewise, diabetic mice with severe endothelial dysfunction owing to deficiency of endothelial nitric oxide synthase develop progressive nephropathy and retinopathy similar to the advanced lesions observed in humans with diabetes mellitus. Additionally, inhibitors of the renin–angiotensin system fail to be renoprotective in some individuals with diabetic nephropathy (due in part to aldosterone breakthrough) and in some mouse models of the disease. In this Review, we discuss the clinical and experimental evidence that supports a role for endothelial nitric oxide deficiency and subsequent endothelial dysfunction in the progression of diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy. If endothelial dysfunction is the key factor required for diabetic nephropathy, then agents that improve endothelial function or raise intraglomerular nitric oxide level could be beneficial in the treatment of diabetic nephropathy.
doi:10.1038/nrneph.2010.152
PMCID: PMC3653134  PMID: 21045790
13.  Effects of high fructose corn syrup and sucrose on the pharmacokinetics of fructose and acute metabolic and hemodynamic responses in healthy subjects 
Metabolism  2011;61(5):641-651.
Objective
It is unclear whether high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which contains a higher amount of fructose and provides an immediate source of free fructose, induces greater systemic concentrations of fructose as compared to sucrose. It is also unclear whether exposure to higher levels of fructose leads to increased fructose-induced adverse effects. The objective was to prospectively compare the effects of HFCS- versus sucrose-sweetened soft drinks on acute metabolic and hemodynamic effects.
Materials/Methods
Forty men and women consumed 24 oz of HFCS- or sucrose-sweetened beverages in a randomized crossover design study. Blood and urine samples were collected over 6 hr. Blood pressure, heart rate, fructose, and a variety of other metabolic biomarkers were measured.
Results
Fructose area under the curve and maximum concentration, dose normalized glucose area under the curve and maximum concentration, relative bioavailability of glucose, changes in postprandial concentrations of serum uric acid, and systolic blood pressure maximum levels were higher when HFCS-sweetened beverages were consumed as compared to sucrose-sweetened beverages.
Conclusions
Compared to sucrose, HFCS leads to greater fructose systemic exposure and significantly different acute metabolic effects.
doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2011.09.013
PMCID: PMC3306467  PMID: 22152650
soft drinks; sweetened beverages; adverse metabolic effects; carbohydrate metabolism
14.  Clinical Outcome of Hyperuricemia in IgA Nephropathy: A Retrospective Cohort Study and Randomized Controlled Trial 
Kidney & Blood Pressure Research  2011;35(3):153-160.
Background
Hyperuricemia is an independent risk factor for renal progression in IgA nephropathy (IgAN). However, no study has evaluated the effect of allopurinol on the clinical outcome in hyperuricemic IgAN.
Methods
First,a retrospective cohort study of 353 IgAN patients was conducted to explore the relationship between uric acid (UA) and the progression of renal disease over a mean period of 5 years. Then, 40 hyperuricemic IgAN patients were randomized to receive allopurinol (100–300 mg/day) or usual therapy for 6 months. The study outcomes were renal disease progression and/or blood pressure.
Results
Hyperuricemia independently predicted renal survival at 1, 3, and 5 years after adjustment for different baseline estimated glomerular filtration rates. In the randomized controlled trial, allopurinol did not significantly alter renal progression or proteinuria. The antihypertensive drug dosage was reduced in 7 of 9 cases with hypertension in the allopurinol group compared to 0 of 9 cases in the control group (p < 0.01). UA levels correlated with mean arterial pressure in normotensive patients (r = 0.388, p < 0.001).
Conclusion
Hyperuricemia predicts the progression of IgAN independently of baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate. Allopurinol may improve the control of blood pressure. Further studies are required to explore the effects of lowering UA on renal protection in IgAN.
doi:10.1159/000331453
PMCID: PMC3242707  PMID: 22116196
Hyperuricemia; IgA nephropathy; Prognosis; Outcome
15.  Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Is it Time to Reappraise the Role of Sugar Consumption? 
Postgraduate medicine  2011;123(5):39-49.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects nearly 10% of children in the United States, and the prevalence of this disorder has increased steadily over the past decades. The cause of ADHD is unknown, although recent studies suggest that it may be associated with a disruption in dopamine signaling whereby dopamine D2 receptors are reduced in reward-related brain regions. This same pattern of reduced dopamine-mediated signaling is observed in various reward-deficiency syndromes associated with food or drug addiction, as well as in obesity. While genetic mechanisms are likely contributory to cases of ADHD, the marked frequency of the disorder suggests that other factors are involved in the etiology. In this article, we revisit the hypothesis that excessive sugar intake may have an underlying role in ADHD. We review preclinical and clinical data suggesting overlaps among ADHD, sugar and drug addiction, and obesity. Further, we present the hypothesis that the chronic effects of excessive sugar intake may lead to alterations in mesolimbic dopamine signaling, which could contribute to the symptoms associated with ADHD. We recommend further studies to investigate the possible relationship between chronic sugar intake and ADHD.
doi:10.3810/pgm.2011.09.2458
PMCID: PMC3598008  PMID: 21904085
ADHD; sucrose; fructose; high-fructose corn syrup; reward-deficiency syndrome; dopamine; D2 receptor; obesity
16.  Use of Uric Acid-Lowering Agents Limits Experimental Cyclosporine Nephropathy 
Nephron. Experimental Nephrology  2011;120(1):e12-e19.
Background
Hyperuricemia frequently complicates cyclosporine (CsA) therapy. Previous studies have shown that hyperuricemia exacerbates interstitial and vascular lesions in the cyclosporine model. We tested the hypothesis that normalization of uric acid could prevent the development of cyclosporine toxicity.
Methods
CsA nephropathy was induced by administering CsA (15 mg/kg/day) for 7 weeks to rats on a low salt diet (CsA group). The effect of preventing hyperuricemia was determined by concomitant treatment with a xanthine oxidase inhibitor, allopurinol (CsAALP), or with a uricosuric, benzbromarone (CsABENZ), in drinking water. Control groups included vehicle-treated rats.
Results
CsA-treated rats developed mild hyperuricemia with arteriolar hyalinosis, tubular atrophy, striped interstitial fibrosis, increased cell proliferation and decreased VEGF expression. Treatment with allopurinol or benzbromarone limited renal disease, with reduced interstitial fibrosis, cell proliferation, macrophage infiltration, osteopontin expression and arteriolar hyalinosis, in association with restoration of VEGF expression. Both drugs provided comparable protection.
Conclusions
An increase in uric acid exacerbates CsA nephropathy in the rat. Concomitant treatment with allopurinol or benzbromarone reduced the severity of renal disease. The similar protection observed with both drugs suggests that the effect is associated more with lowering uric acid levels than the antioxidant effect of allopurinol.
doi:10.1159/000330274
PMCID: PMC3254032  PMID: 22126908
Cyclosporine; Uric acid; Arteriolar hyalinosis; Tubulointerstitial fibrosis
17.  Circulating Angiopoietin-2 Is a Marker for Early Cardiovascular Disease in Children on Chronic Dialysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56273.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is increasingly recognised as a complication of childhood chronic kidney disease (CKD) even in the absence of diabetes and hypertension. We hypothesized that an alteration in angiopoietin-1 and -2, growth factors which regulate endothelial and vascular function could be involved. We report that the endothelial survival factor, angiopoietin-1 is low in children with pre-dialysis CKD whereas the pro-inflammatory angiopoietin-2 is elevated in children on dialysis. In dialysis patients, angiopoietin-2 positively correlated with time on dialysis, systolic blood pressure, and carotid artery intima media thickness. Elevated angiopoietin-2 levels in dialysis versus pre-dialysis CKD patients were also associated with an anti-angiogenic (high soluble VEGFR-1 and low VEGF-A) and pro-inflammatory (high urate, E-selectin, P-selectin and VCAM-1) milieu. Ang-2 was immunodetected in arterial biopsy samples whilst the expression of VEGF-A was significantly downregulated in dialysis patients. Serum urate correlated with angiopoietin-2 levels in dialysis patients and addition of uric acid was able to induce rapid release of angiopoietin-2 from cultured endothelial cells. Thus, angiopoietin-2 is a marker for cardiovascular disease in children on chronic dialysis and may act as an anti-angiogenic and pro-inflammatory effector in this context. The possibility that the release of angiopoietin-2 from endothelia is mediated by urate should be explored further.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056273
PMCID: PMC3568077  PMID: 23409162
18.  Low-fructose diet lowers blood pressure and inflammation in patients with chronic kidney disease 
Background.
Fructose has been strongly linked with hypertension, hyperuricemia and inflammation in experimental models and humans. However, the effect of low-fructose diet on inflammation, hyperuricemia and the progression of renal disease has not yet been evaluated in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Methods.
Twenty-eight patients (age 59 ± 15 years, 17 males/11 females) with Stages 2 and 3 CKD were switched from a regular (basal) (60.0 g/24 h) to a low (12.0 g/24 h) fructose diet for 6 weeks, followed by a resumption of their regular diet for another 6 weeks. Diet was monitored by a dietician. At the baseline, low- and regular-fructose diet ambulatory blood pressure (BP) was measured and blood sampled for renal function (creatinine), inflammatory markers, fasting glucose and insulin and serum uric acid. Twenty-four-hour urine collections were also obtained for creatinine, uric acid, monocyte chemotatic protein-1, transforming growth factor-beta and N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase.
Results.
The low-fructose diet tended to improve BP for the whole group (n = 28), while significant reduction of BP was only seen in dippers (n = 20) but not in non-dippers (n = 8). No effects on estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) or proteinuria were observed. Serum uric acid was lowered non-significantly with low-fructose diet (7.1 ± 1.3 versus 6.6 ± 1.0 mg/dL, P < 0.1), whereas a significant decrease in fasting serum insulin was observed (11.2 ± 6.1 versus 8.2 ± 2.9 mIU/mL, P < 0.05) and the reduction persisted after return to the regular diet. A slight but not significant reduction in urinary uric acid and fractional uric acid excretion was observed while the patients were on the low fructose diet. The low-fructose diet also decreased high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) (4.3 ± 4.9 versus 3.3 ± 4.5 mg/L; P < 0.01) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM) (250.9 ± 59.4 versus 227 ± 50.5 ng/mL; P < 0.05). The hsCRP returned to baseline with resumption of the regular diet, whereas the reduction in sICAM persisted.
Conclusion.
Low-fructose diet in subjects with CKD can reduce inflammation with some potential benefits on BP. This pilot study needs to be confirmed by a larger clinical trial to determine the long-term benefit of a low-fructose diet compared to other diets in subjects with CKD.
doi:10.1093/ndt/gfr223
PMCID: PMC3350341  PMID: 21613382
blood pressure; chronic kidney disease; inflammation; low-fructose diet; uric acid
19.  Renal inflammation, autoimmunity and salt-sensitive hypertension 
This article reviews the role of immune competent cells infiltrating the kidney and their association with oxidative stress and renal angiotensin activity in the development of salt-sensitive hypertension.We discuss the alteration of the pressure-natriuresis relationship resulting from renal inflammation and its improvement resulting from immunosuppressive treatment.The potential role of T cell-driven reactivity in sustaining the renal inflammation is examined in the light of accumulating evidence of autoimmune mechanisms in experimental and clinical hypertension.
doi:10.1111/j.1440-1681.2011.05482.x
PMCID: PMC3137657  PMID: 21251049
Heat Shock proteins; lymphocytes; macrophages; pressure natriuresis; T cells
20.  URIC ACID: THE OXIDANT–ANTIOXIDANT PARADOX 
Uric acid, despite being a major antioxidant in the human plasma, both correlates and predicts development of obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, conditions associated with oxidative stress. While one explanation for this paradox could be that a rise in uric acid represents an attempted protective response by the host, we review the evidence that uric acid may function either as an antioxidant (primarily in plasma) or pro-oxidant (primarily within the cell). We suggest that it is the pro-oxidative effects of uric acid that occur in cardiovascular disease and may have a contributory role in the pathogenesis of these conditions.
doi:10.1080/15257770802138558
PMCID: PMC2895915  PMID: 18600514
Uric acid; redox homeostasis; metabolic syndrome; cardiovascular disease
22.  Sucrose induces Fatty Liver and Pancreatic Inflammation in Male Breeder Rats Independent of Excess Energy Intake 
Aims
Fructose induces metabolic syndrome in rats but studies have been criticized for using high concentrations of fructose that are not physiologic, for using only pure fructose, and for not controlling for energy intake. We tested the hypothesis that a 40% sucrose diet (containing 20% fructose) might induce features of metabolic syndrome in male breeder rats independent of excess energy intake.
Methods
Male Sprague-Dawley breeder rats were pair fed 40% sucrose or isocaloric starch diet for 4 months and evaluated for metabolic syndrome and diabetes. In vitro studies were performed in rat insulinoma cells (RIN-m5F) exposed to uric acid and markers of inflammation were assessed.
Results
Rats fed a 40% sucrose diet developed accelerated features of metabolic syndrome with upregulation of fructose-dependent transporter Glut 5 and fructokinase. Fatty liver and low grade pancreatic inflammation also occurred. Uric acid was found to stimulate inflammatory mediators and oxidative stress in islet cells in vitro.
Conclusions
Sucrose, at concentrations ingested by a subset of Americans, can accelerate metabolic syndrome, fatty liver and type 2 diabetes in male breeder rats, and the effects are independent of excess energy intake.
doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2011.01.008
PMCID: PMC3137694  PMID: 21489572
Sucrose; Fructose; Insulin Resistance; Uric acid; Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
23.  Uric acid: A Danger Signal from the RNA World that may have a role in the Epidemic of Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and CardioRenal Disease: Evolutionary Considerations 
Seminars in nephrology  2011;31(5):394-399.
All humans are uricase knockouts; we lost the uricase gene due to a mutation that occurred in the mid Miocene approximately 15 million years ago. The consequence of being a uricase knockout is that we have higher serum uric acid levels that are less regulatable and can be readily influenced by diet. This increases our risk for gout and kidney stones, but there is also increasing evidence that uric acid increases our risk for hypertension, kidney disease, obesity and diabetes. This raises the question of why this mutation occurred. In this paper we review current hypotheses. We suggest that uric acid is a danger and survival signal carried over from the RNA world. The mutation of uricase that occurred during the food shortage and global cooling that occurred in the Miocene resulted in a survival advantage for early primates, particularly in Europe. Today, the loss of uricase functions as a thrifty gene, increasing our risk for obesity and cardiorenal disease.
doi:10.1016/j.semnephrol.2011.08.002
PMCID: PMC3203212  PMID: 22000645
uricase; fructose; thrifty gene; anti-oxidant; oxidant; RNA world
24.  Pathogenesis of essential hypertension: historical paradigms and modern insights 
Journal of hypertension  2008;26(3):381-391.
Since its first identification in the late 1800s, a variety of etiologies for essential hypertension have been proposed. In this paper we review the primary proposed hypotheses in the context of both the time in which they were proposed as well as the subsequent studies performed over the years. From these various insights, we propose a current paradigm to explain the renal mechanisms underlying the hypertension epidemic today. Specifically, we propose that hypertension is initiated by agents that cause systemic and intrarenal vasoconstriction. Over time intrarenal injury develops with microvascular disease, interstitial T cell and macrophage recruitment with the induction of an autoimmune response, with local angiotensin II formation and oxidant generation. These changes maintain intrarenal vasoconstriction and hypoxia with a change in local vasoconstrictor-vasodilator balance favoring sodium retention. Both genetic and congenital (nephron number) mechanisms have profound influence on this pathway. As blood pressure rises, renal ischemia is ameliorated and sodium balance restored completely (in salt-resistant) or partially (in salt-sensitive) hypertension, but at the expense of a rightward shift in the pressure natriuresis curve and persistent hypertension.
doi:10.1097/HJH.0b013e3282f29876
PMCID: PMC2742362  PMID: 18300843
Fructose; hypertension; inflammation; microvascular disease; oxidative stress; salt; uric acid
25.  Contribution of uric acid to cancer risk, recurrence, and mortality 
Two risk factors for the development and progression of cancers that are amenable to life style modification are chronic inflammation and the metabolic syndrome. This review proposes two new targets that may mechanistically integrate inflammation and metabolic syndrome, have been largely ignored, and are known to be druggable. Recent evidence has demonstrated that elevated serum uric acid (hyperuricemia) is associated with excess cancer risk, recurrence, and mortality. Although uric acid (UA) can function as a systemic antioxidant, its pro-inflammatory properties have been postulated to play an important role in the pathogenesis of cancer. Furthermore, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) are also associated with excess cancer, chronic inflammation, and with hyperuricemia, suggesting that UA may represent an important link between these disorders and the development of cancer. While pharmacological modulation of hyperuricemia could in principal augment anti-cancer therapeutic strategies, some cancer cells express low intracellular levels of the enzyme Xanthine Oxidoreductase (XOR) that are associated with increased cancer aggressiveness and poor clinical outcome. Thus, systemic pharmacological inhibition of XOR may worsen clinical outcome, and specific strategies that target serum uric acid (SUA) without inhibiting tumor cell XOR may create new therapeutic opportunities for cancer associated with hyperuricemia. This review will summarize the evidence that elevated SUA may be a true risk factor for cancer incidence and mortality, and mechanisms by which UA may contribute to cancer pathogenesis will be discussed in the hope that these will identify new opportunities for cancer management.
doi:10.1186/2001-1326-1-16
PMCID: PMC3560981  PMID: 23369448
Cancer; Obesity; T2DM; Metabolic syndrome; Uric acid

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