OBJECTIVES: High levels of serum uric acid (UA) are associated with cerebro-cardiovascular disease risk factors. This study aimed at evaluating the main determinants of serum UA levels in relation to biochemical, lifestyle, and clinical variables.
METHODS: The study population included 15,594 participants (48% men, age ≥ 35 years) to the Moli-sani Study, for whom data on serum UA levels were available. Association of UA with dependent variables was investigated by multivariable linear regression analysis separately for men and women.
RESULTS: Average serum UA levels were higher in men than in women (6.1 ± 1.3 vs 4.6 ± 1.2 mg/dL, respectively). Cystatin C, creatinine, albumin, triglycerides, body mass index (BMI), and diuretic therapy were the major determinants of the heterogeneity of UA levels. In women, the final model, resulting from the stepwise analysis, explained 41.6% of the UA variability. In particular, cystatin C explained 22.5% of UA variance, followed by BMI (7.2%), albumin (4.0%), and creatinine (1.9%). The final model in men fitted the data less than in women (total R2 = 29.1%), and creatinine was found to be the main determinant of UA levels (10.1%), followed by triglycerides (7.6%), BMI (3.7%), and albumin (2.0%).
CONCLUSIONS: In a general adult population, the major determinants of serum UA levels are cystatin C, creatinine, BMI, triglycerides, albumin, and the use of diuretics. Knowledge of its main determinants will be useful to better evaluate the relationship between UA levels and detrimental health outcomes and to clarify if an increase in uricemia is a marker or an independent risk factor. Key Points • Increased serum uric acid (UA) levels are reportedly associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors. • The major determinants of heterogeneity of UA levels are cystatin C, creatinine, BMI, triglycerides, albumin, and the use of diuretics, in a general adult population. • Studying the main determinants associated with high levels of serum uric acid would help better understanding if uric acid is a marker or an independent cardiovascular risk factor.