Serum uric acid potentially links metabolic health to measures of fuel use in lean and obese individuals

C. Mele, M. A. Tagliaferri, G. Saraceno, S. Mai, R. Vietti, M. Zavattaro, G. Aimaretti, M. Scacchi, P. Marzullo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Uric acid (UA) is a byproduct of the high-energy purine metabolism and is conventionally regarded as a marker of cardio-metabolic impairment. Its potential relationship with energy homeostasis is unknown to date. Methods and results: In a cross-sectional study on 121 otherwise healthy obese and 99 sex- and-age-matched lean subjects, UA levels were analyzed in relation to metabolic health, inflammatory markers, respiratory quotient (RQ) and resting energy expenditure (REE) as assessed by indirect calorimetry, fat mass (%FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) as determined by bioimpedance analysis. As expected, obese and lean subjects differed in BMI, glucolipid homeostasis, leptin and insulin levels, inflammatory markers, %FM and FFM (p < 0.001 for all). Likewise, UA levels (p < 0.001) and rates of hyperuricaemia (40.5% vs 3.0%, p < 0.0001) were also higher in obese than lean controls. Further, indirect calorimetry confirmed that obesity increased REE and decreased RQ significantly (p < 0.001). Beyond the expected metabolic correlates, in individual and merged groups UA levels were associated negatively with RQ and positively with REE (p < 0.0001 for both). In multivariable regression analysis, significant independent predictors of UA were BMI and sex. When BMI was replaced by measures of body composition, %FM and FFM emerged as significant predictors of serum UA (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: A potential link relates serum UA to measures of resting energy expenditure and their determinants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1035
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Obesity
  • Respiratory quotient
  • Resting energy expenditure
  • Uric acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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