Study Finds Association Between Gout Flare Frequency and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

The accumulation of fat in the liver of individuals who drink little to no alcohol results in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). While the cause of NAFLD is unknown, risk factors such as obesity, gastric bypass surgery, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes have been associated with the disease. It is a chronic disease that is also related to hyperuricemia (high serum uric acid levels in the blood).

Gout, a common form of inflammatory arthritis, is likewise associated with elevated serum uric acid levels. Persistent and untreated hyperuricemia can lead to recurrent and painful gout flares in patients, which typically present as pain, swelling, and redness in the joints.

A study in Clinical Rheumatology aimed to investigate whether an association exists between gout flares and NAFLD. Additionally, the authors of the study wanted to analyze the interaction of frequency of gout flares and adipose tissue insulin resistance index (Adipo-IR), a measure of adipose tissue insulin, on NAFLD in patients with gout.

Utilizing a retrospective study design, 350 patients diagnosed with gout were included in the analysis. To determine the association between frequent gout flares and NAFLD, as well as the interaction of gout flare frequency and Adipo-IR on NAFLD, the authors used Cox proportional hazard regression analyses. To explore the diagnostic value of frequent gout flares and Adipo-IR on the occurrence of NAFLD, receiver operating curves (ROC) were plotted.

Of the patients included, 78 developed NAFLD during the follow-up period. Following logistic regression, it was revealed that Adipo-IR was an independent factor associated with frequent gout flares risk. Additionally, multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that frequent gout flares and Adipo-IR were associated with NAFLD risk. Lastly, ROC demonstrated that both factors had a great discriminant ability to diagnose NAFLD.

“Frequent gout flares and elevated Adipo-IR had a good diagnostic capability toward NAFLD development,” the authors wrote. “Frequent gout flares and Adipo-IR played a synergistic role in the development of NAFLD.”