We investigated the relationship between uric acid (UA) metabolism and fat distribution in 36 obese men with a mean +/- SD age of 38 +/- 16 years and mean body-mass index (BMI) of 34 +/- 4 kg/m2. Subjects were divided into two groups: subcutaneous fat obesity (SFO) and visceral fat obesity (VFO), according to their abdominal fat distribution based on the results of computed tomography (CT). SFO was defined as having a ratio of visceral fat area (VFA) to subcutaneous fat area (V/S) of less than 0.4, and VFO was defined as having a V/S ratio > or = 0.4. The levels of serum total cholesterol (T-Chol), triglyceride (TG), and fasting plasma glucose (FPG), and the diastolic blood pressure (dBP) were significantly higher in the VFO group than in the SFO group. Serum UA levels were much higher in both the SFO and VFO groups than in the non-obese control group (492 +/- 107 and 474 +/- 90 v 309 +/- 48 micromol/L, respectively). The 24-hour urinary urate excretion (u-UA24h) and the UA clearance (Cua) to creatinine clearance (Ccr) ratio were significantly higher in the VFO group than in the SFO group (3.75 +/- 1.43 v 2.69 +/- 1.12 mmol/d, P < .05; and 5.9% +/- 2.0% v 3.6% +/- 1.7%, P < .001, respectively). The frequency of hyperuricemia was markedly higher in both the SFO and VFO groups compared with the control group (71% and 73% v 0%, respectively). Although the high serum UA level seemed to be related to low u-UA24h in 80% of SFO subjects with hyperuricemia, this was the case in only 10% of VFO subjects. While 44% of VFO subjects with hyperuricemia were designated as an overproduction type. These results suggest that the mechanism of hyperuricemia in obesity may be affected by the difference in body fat distribution and that the assessment of body fat distribution and types of hyperuricemia is crucial for the treatment of obese patients with hyperuricemia.