Serum uric acid: a new therapeutic target for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2016;20(3):375-87. doi: 10.1517/14728222.2016.1096930. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


Introduction: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major, worldwide public health problem. NAFLD is recognized as a major cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality. However, physicians are currently limited by available treatment options. Recently, numerous studies have reported a correlation between serum uric acid (SUA) and NAFLD with numerous clinical and experimental studies demonstrating a significant correlation. This review will focus on the role of SUA in the development of NAFLD and its potential role as a new target for therapeutic intervention.

Areas covered: This review discusses SUA as a significant independent factor in the development of NAFLD. Moreover, we introduce the causal relationship between SUA, metabolic syndrome, and NAFLD. We discuss two major theories of insulin resistance and inflammasomes as potential explanations of the mechanistic link between SUA and NAFLD. In addition, we review current and emerging therapeutic medications to control appropriate SUA levels.

Expert opinion: There is an urgent need to develop novel, safe and effective therapies for the growing NAFLD epidemic. Reduction of SUA may be a promising potential treatment for patients with NAFLD. Clinical studies are required to determine the therapeutic effect of attenuation of hyperuricemia in humans with NAFLD.

Keywords: metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, inflammasomes, therapeutic options; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; serum uric acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Hyperuricemia / drug therapy*
  • Hyperuricemia / physiopathology
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / physiopathology
  • Uric Acid / blood*


  • Inflammasomes
  • Uric Acid