Objective: To examine the relationships of serum uric acid concentration with several risk factors of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Subjects: 957 men 18 y old participating in the Verona Young Men Atherosclerosis Risk Factors Study, a cross-sectional population-based study.
Measurements: Body mass index (BMI), waist/hip ratio (WHR), serum uric acid, serum lipids, blood pressure, fasting insulin and behavioural variables.
Results: Serum uric acid concentration showed positive associations with BMI (r = 0.24; P < 0.0001), WHR (r = 0.19; P < 0.0001) and serum triglyceride levels (r = 0.19; P < 0.0001); it was also significantly correlated to systolic (r = 0.08; P < 0.01) and diastolic (r = 0.11; P < 0.001) blood pressure, fasting insulin (r = 0.11; P < 0.001), total (r = 0.12; P < 0.001) and LDL cholesterol (r = 0.10; P < 0.01) plasma concentrations. Life-style characteristics, such as smoking and physical activity did not show any significant association, while daily alcohol intake was positively associated with uric acid concentration (r = 0.09; P < 0.01). While the adjustment for fasting insulin did not substantially change these results, the magnitude of the correlations between uric acid and CVD risk factors markedly decreased when allowance was made for BMI and WHR. Only triglycerides maintained an independent correlation with uric acid levels (r = 0.17; P < 0.0001). In multivariate regression analysis, serum triglycerides, BMI and WHR (at borderline significance) were independent positive predictors of uric acid (R2 of the model 0.122, P < 0.001), while fasting insulin concentration did not give any independent contribution to explain the variability uric acid levels.
Conclusions: These data indicate that, already in young, essentially health subjects, hyperuricaemia associates with several components of the so-called insulin resistance syndrome, thus suggesting that increased levels of uric acid might be another member of this syndrome. In addition, these data suggest that obesity and central body fat distribution, rather than hyperinsulinaemia/insulin resistance, play a major role in linking hyperuricaemia with CVD risk factors clustering in the insulin resistance syndrome. Nevertheless, hypertrigliceridemia is related to hyperuricemia independently of obesity and central body fat distribution.