Elevated uric acid levels may be associated with an increased risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD), researchers reported online ahead of print in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

In a study of 312 men who underwent an exercise stress test as part of a workup of chest pain, Mehmet Kanbay, MD, of Istanbul Medeniyet University in Istanbul, Turkey, each 1 mg/dL increment in uric acid was associated with a significant 36% increased risk of ED. Compared with subjects in the first quartile of uric acid level, those in the fourth quartile had a 2.6 times increased risk of ED. In adjusted analysis, however, uric and uric acid quartiles were not independent risk factors for ED.

“In this study, we show that subjects presenting with chest pain of presumed cardiac origin are more likely to have ED if they have elevated uric acid levels,” the authors concluded. “As lowering uric acid can reverse intracellular oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction in animal models, we might suggest that studies should also be performed to determine the potential benefit of lowering uric acid in subjects with ED, in the presence or absence of CAD.”

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Studies have shown that that uric acid can induce endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress, inflammation, and microvascular disease, according to the report, and this could provide a link between uric acid and cardiovascular disease and ED, as well as other CAD risk factors.