Author(s): Pascual E, Pedraz T
PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW: We have reviewed the latest publications on epidemiology of gout; also there have been new insights into the regulation of the inflammation resulting from the regular interaction occurring between MSU crystals and cells in both asymptomatic and symptomatic gouty joints. Finally we review different publications of clinical interest. RECENT FINDINGS: The incidence of gout has been found to be increasing, and the disease starts at an earlier age; this likely relates to changes in dietary habits that lead to the development of the insulin resistance syndrome to which hyperuricemia, and thus gout, relates. Dietary modifications to correct the insulin resistance syndrome and reduce uricemia by increasing renal clearance of urate have heath consequences that go far beyond their beneficial effect on gout. Monosodium urate crystals and cells interact in the asymptomatic joints of gouty patients. The mechanisms that trigger a gouty attack with this background and those responsible for the self-limitation of gouty attacks are not understood. The degree of maturation of the monocytes-macrophages present in the fluid appears to modulate the consequences of the crystal-cell interaction and gives a hint of how from the crystal-cell interaction may result in such divergent consequences as intense inflammation or the absence of symptoms. Interest in gout treatment continues, as shown by the number of papers on the subject reviewed. In most cases, gout is an easy disease to treat, but we do not have enough information about how to handle those few patients with "difficult" disease, and what we refer colloquially to as difficult gout has not been properly defined yet. SUMMARY: Gout incidence and severity appear to be increasing likely in relation to dietary habits. Switching the pattern of secretion of inflammatory mediators with maturating macrophages which contain MSU crystals may be the key to self limitation of gouty attacks. We must define better which gout is a "difficult" one.