Hyperuricemia increases the risk of heart failure, and higher levels of serum uric acid are seen in patients who have worse ventricular function, functional capacity and prognosis. Heart failure is also accompanied by upregulation of xanthine oxidase, the enzyme that catalyzes the formation of uric acid and a purported source of reactive oxygen species. However, the available evidence does not support the premise that either uric acid or the activation of xanthine oxidase has direct injurious effects on the heart in the clinical setting. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors (allopurinol and oxypurinol) have had little benefit and may exert detrimental effects in patients with chronic heart failure in randomized controlled trials, and the more selective and potent inhibitor febuxostat increases the risk of cardiovascular death more than allopurinol. Instead, the available evidence indicates that changes in xanthine oxidase and uric acid are biomarkers of oxidative stress (particularly in heart failure) and that xanthine oxidase may provide an important source of nitric oxide that quenches the injurious effects of reactive oxygen species. A primary determinant of the cellular redox state is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), whose levels drive an inverse relationship between xanthine oxidase and sirtuin-1 (SIRT1), a nutrient deprivation sensor that exerts important antioxidant and cardioprotective effects. Interestingly, sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors induce a state of nutrient deprivation that includes activation of sirtuin-1, suppression of xanthine oxidase and lowering of serum uric acid. The intermediary role of sirtuin-1 in both uric acid-lowering and cardioprotection may explain why, in mediation analyses of large-scale cardiovascular trials, the effect of SGLT2 inhibitors to decrease serum uric acid is a major predictor of the ability of these drugs to reduce serious heart failure events.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.