Published: 18 April 2015
Author(s): Francesco M. Galassi, Claudio Borghi
Section: Letters to the Editor

The organic heterocyclic compound uric acid, discovered by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742–1786) and represented by the formula H2(C5H2N403), is the final product of purine catabolism. It derives from its precursor xanthine which is degraded by the enzyme xanthine oxidoreductase largely in the liver and the small intestine. Since, unlike most mammals, humans lack the very enzyme capable of degrading it into allantoin, they tend to have far higher uric acid levels, which throughout history have been linked to a constellation of clinical conditions, most notably gout [1].


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