Hepatocyte-Specific Ablation or Whole-Body Inhibition of Xanthine Oxidoreductase in Mice Corrects Obesity-Induced Systemic Hyperuricemia Without Improving Metabolic Abnormalities

Diabetes. 2019 Jun;68(6):1221-1229. doi: 10.2337/db18-1198. Epub 2019 Apr 1.


Systemic hyperuricemia (HyUA) in obesity/type 2 diabetes facilitated by elevated activity of xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR), which is the sole source of uric acid (UA) in mammals, has been proposed to contribute to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance/dyslipidemia in obesity. Here, the effects of hepatocyte-specific ablation of Xdh, the gene encoding XOR (HXO), and whole-body pharmacologic inhibition of XOR (febuxostat) on obesity-induced insulin resistance/dyslipidemia were assessed. Deletion of hepatocyte Xdh substantially lowered liver and plasma UA concentration. When exposed to an obesogenic diet, HXO and control floxed (FLX) mice became equally obese, but systemic HyUA was absent in HXO mice. Despite this, obese HXO mice became as insulin resistant and dyslipidemic as obese FLX mice. Similarly, febuxostat dramatically lowered plasma and tissue UA and XOR activity in obese wild-type mice without altering obesity-associated insulin resistance/dyslipidemia. These data demonstrate that hepatocyte XOR activity is a critical determinant of systemic UA homeostasis, that deletion of hepatocyte Xdh is sufficient to prevent systemic HyUA of obesity, and that neither prevention nor correction of HyUA improves insulin resistance/dyslipidemia in obesity. Thus, systemic HyUA, although clearly a biomarker of the metabolic abnormalities of obesity, does not appear to be causative.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Febuxostat / pharmacology
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Hyperuricemia / genetics*
  • Hyperuricemia / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Uric Acid / metabolism*
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase / genetics*


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Triglycerides
  • Febuxostat
  • Uric Acid
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase
  • Glucose