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Diabetes Metab. 2009 Dec;35(6):447-51. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2009.04.011.

Relationship between uric acid and hepatic steatosis among Koreans.

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Department of Family Medicine, Busan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.



The relationship between high uric-acid levels and hepatic steatosis, according to body mass index (BMI) categories, and their coexistence with the metabolic syndrome (MetS) were examined in the present study.


The study involved a cross-sectional sample of 13,621 Koreans (7221 men and 6400 women) who visited a health checkup centre between 2005 and 2006. Hepatic steatosis was diagnosed using ultrasonography. Hyperuricaemia was defined as >7mg/dL for men and >6mg/dL for women. The MetS was defined as the presence of three or more MetS components-obesity (BMI >or=25.0kg/m(2)), high blood pressure, elevated levels of triglycerides and glucose, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol.


In total, 26.2% were diagnosed with hepatic steatosis, of whom 11.9% were non-obese (BMI <25kg/m(2)) and 52.5% were obese. Hyperuricaemia was associated with hepatic steatosis in non-obese (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] of 1.4 in men and 2.2 in women) as well as in obese individuals (AOR of 1.8 in men and 2.3 in women) after adjusting for age, other MetS components and liver function tests. The AOR (95% CI) for hepatic steatosis in obese individuals with hyperuricaemia compared with non-obese individuals with normal uric-acid levels was 7.7 (6.4-9.3) in men and 12.4 (7.8-19.5) in women. The adjusted age and liver-function test ORs (95% CI) for hepatic steatosis in those with hyperuricaemia and no MetS compared with those who had normal uric acid levels and no MetS were 2.0 (1.7-2.4) in men and 3.2 (2.1-4.9) in women. The ORs (95% CI) in those with hyperuricaemia and the MetS increased to 6.9 (5.5-8.8) and 15.2 (8.4-27.4) in men and women, respectively.


Hyperuricaemia is independently associated with hepatic steatosis regardless of BMI category or the presence of the MetS in Korean adults. Further research into the causal relationship is needed.

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