Some observational studies have identified elevated uric acid concentration as a risk factor for diabetes, while others have found an inverse relationship. We examined both the association of uric acid level with incident diabetes and the change in uric acid concentration after a diabetes diagnosis. We analyzed data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study and quantified the independent association between uric acid level and incident diabetes via Cox proportional hazards models. The association between duration of diabetes and change in uric acid level was examined via linear regression. Among 11,134 participants without diagnosed diabetes at baseline (1987-1989), there were 1,294 incident cases of diabetes during a median of 9 years of follow-up (1987-1998). Uric acid level was associated with diabetes even after adjustment for risk factors (per 1 mg/dL, hazard ratio = 1.18, 95% confidence interval: 1.13, 1.23), and the association remained significant after adjustment for fasting glucose and insulin levels. Among participants with diabetes (n = 1,510), every additional 5 years' duration of diabetes was associated with a 0.10-mg/dL (95% confidence interval: 0.04, 0.15) lower uric acid level after adjustment. We conclude that uric acid concentration rises prior to diagnosis of diabetes and then declines with diabetes duration. Future studies investigating uric acid as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease should adequately account for the impact and timing of diabetes development.
Keywords: cohort studies; diabetes mellitus; uric acid.