What is renal hypouricemia?
Renal hypouricemia is a kidney (renal) disorder that results in a reduced amount of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a byproduct of certain normal chemical reactions in the body. In the bloodstream it acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from the damaging effects of unstable molecules called free radicals. However, having too much uric acid in the body is toxic, so excess uric acid is removed from the body in urine.
People with renal hypouricemia have little to no uric acid in their blood; they release an excessive amount of it in the urine. In many affected individuals, renal hypouricemia causes no signs or symptoms. However, some people with this condition develop kidney problems. After strenuous exercise, they can develop exercise-induced acute kidney injury, which causes pain in their sides and lower back as well as nausea and vomiting that can last several hours.
Because an excessive amount of uric acid passes through the kidneys to be excreted in urine in people with renal hypouricemia, they have an increased risk of developing kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) formed from uric acid crystals. These uric acid stones can damage the kidneys and lead to episodes of blood in the urine (hematuria). Rarely, people with renal hypouricemia develop life-threatening kidney failure.
How common is renal hypouricemia?
The prevalence of renal hypouricemia is unknown; at least 150 affected individuals have been described in the scientific literature. This condition is thought to be most prevalent in Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, although affected individuals have been found in Europe. Renal hypouricemia is likely underdiagnosed because it does not cause any symptoms in many affected individuals.
What genes are related to renal hypouricemia?
Mutations in the SLC22A12 or SLC2A9 gene cause renal hypouricemia. These genes provide instructions for making proteins called urate transporter 1 (URAT1) and glucose transporter 9 (GLUT9), respectively. These proteins are found in the kidneys, specifically in structures called proximal tubules. These structures help to reabsorb needed nutrients, water, and other materials into the blood and excrete unneeded substances into the urine. Within the proximal tubules, both the URAT1 and GLUT9 proteins reabsorb uric acid into the bloodstream or release it into the urine, depending on the body's needs. Most uric acid that is filtered through the kidneys is reabsorbed into the bloodstream; about 10 percent is released into urine.
Mutations that cause renal hypouricemia lead to the production of URAT1 or GLUT9 protein with a reduced ability to reabsorb uric acid into the bloodstream. Instead, large amounts of uric acid are released in the urine. The specific cause of the signs and symptoms of renal hypouricemia is unclear. Researchers suspect that when additional uric acid is produced during exercise and passed through the kidneys, it could lead to tissue damage. Alternatively, without the antioxidant properties of uric acid, free radicals could cause tissue damage in the kidneys. Another possibility is that other substances are prevented from being reabsorbed along with uric acid; accumulation of these substances in the kidneys could cause tissue damage. It is likely that individuals with renal hypouricemia who have mild or no symptoms have enough protein function to reabsorb a sufficient amount of uric acid into the bloodstream to prevent severe kidney problems.
How do people inherit renal hypouricemia?
This condition is typically inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of theSLC22A12 or SLC2A9 gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they usually do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Sometimes, individuals with one SLC2A9 gene mutation in each cell have reduced levels of uric acid. The levels usually are not as low as they are in people who have mutations in both copies of the gene, and they often do not cause any signs or symptoms. Rarely, people who carry one copy of the mutated gene will develop uric acid kidney stones.
Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of renal hypouricemia?
These resources address the diagnosis or management of renal hypouricemia and may include treatment providers.
- Genetic Testing Registry: Familial renal
- Genetic Testing Registry: Renal hypouricemia
- KidsHealth from Nemours: Blood Test: Uric
- MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: Uric
You might also find information on the diagnosis or management of renal hypouricemia inEducational resources and Patient support.
General information about the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing, particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests.
To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about renal hypouricemia?
You may find the following resources about renal hypouricemia helpful. These materials are written for the general public.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for renal hypouricemia?
- familial renal hypouricaemia
- familial renal hypouricemia
- hereditary renal hypouricemia
What if I still have specific questions about renal hypouricemia?
Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
- What does it mean if a disorder seems to run in my family?
- What are the different ways in which a genetic condition can be inherited?
- If a genetic disorder runs in my family, what are the chances that my children will have the condition?
- Why are some genetic conditions more common in particular ethnic groups?
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding renal hypouricemia?
acute ; autosomal ; autosomal recessive ; cell ; excrete ; familial ; free radicals ; gene ; glucose ;hematuria ; hereditary ; inherited ; injury ; kidney ; kidney stones ; mutation ; prevalence ; protein ;proximal ; recessive ; renal ; tissue ; toxic ; uric acid
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (4 links)
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.