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      Alanine Aminotransferase, γ-Glutamyltransferase, and Incident Diabetes : The British Women's Heart and Health Study and meta-analysis

      , PHD 1 , , MSC, 1 , , PHD 2 , , DM 3 ,   , DSC 1 , , PHD 1

      Diabetes Care

      American Diabetes Association

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          To estimate and compare associations of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT) with incident diabetes.


          ALT and GGT were studied as determinants of diabetes in the British Women's Heart and Health Study, a cohort of 4,286 women 60–79 years old (median follow-up 7.3 years). A systematic review and a meta-analysis of 21 prospective, population-based studies of ultrasonography, which diagnosed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), ALT, and GGT as determinants of diabetes, were conducted, and associations of ALT and GGT with diabetes were compared.


          Ultrasonography-diagnosed NAFLD was associated with more than a doubling in the risk of incident diabetes (three studies). ALT and GGT both predicted diabetes. The fully adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for diabetes per increase in one unit of logged ALT was 1.83 (95% CI 1.57–2.14, I 2 = 8%) and for GGT was 1.92 (1.66–2.21, I 2 = 55%). To directly compare ALT and GGT as determinants of diabetes, the fully adjusted risk of diabetes in the top versus bottom fourth of the ALT and GGT distributions was estimated using data from studies that included results for both markers. For ALT, the HR was 2.02 (1.59–2.58, I 2 = 27%), and for GGT the HR was 2.94 (1.98–3.88, I 2 = 20%), suggesting that GGT may be a better predictor ( P = 0.05).


          Findings are consistent with the role of liver fat in diabetes pathogenesis. GGT may be a better diabetes predictor than ALT, but additional studies with directly determined liver fat content, ALT, and GGT are needed to confirm this finding.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Gamma glutamyl transferase.

          Serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) has been widely used as an index of liver dysfunction and marker of alcohol intake. The last few years have seen improvements in these areas and advances in understanding of its physiological role in counteracting oxidative stress by breaking down extracellular glutathione and making its component amino acids available to the cells. Conditions that increase serum GGT, such as obstructive liver disease, high alcohol consumption, and use of enzyme-inducing drugs, lead to increased free radical production and the threat of glutathione depletion. However, the products of the GGT reaction may themselves lead to increased free radical production, particularly in the presence of iron. There have also been important advances in the definition of the associations between serum GGT and risk of coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and stroke. People with high serum GGT have higher mortality, partly because of the association between GGT and other risk factors and partly because GGT is an independent predictor of risk. This review aims to summarize the knowledge about GGT's clinical applications, to present information on its physiological roles, consider the results of epidemiological studies, and assess how far these separate areas can be combined into an integrated view.
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            Gamma-glutamyltransferase is a predictor of incident diabetes and hypertension: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study.

            Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), which maintains cellular concentrations of glutathione, may be a marker of oxidative stress, and GGT itself may produce oxidative stress. We performed a prospective study to examine whether serum GGT predicts diabetes and hypertension. Study participants were 4844 black and white men and women 18-30 years of age in 1985-1986; they were reexamined 2, 5, 7, 10, and 15 years later. Year 0 GGT cutpoints were 12, 17, 25, and 36 U/L (overall 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles; the laboratory cutpoints for abnormal are 40 U/L in women and 50 U/L in men). We deleted 32 participants with prevalent diabetes and 140 participants with prevalent hypertension from the respective incidence analyses. After adjustment for study center, race, sex, and age in proportional hazards regression, the hazard ratios across year 0 GGT categories were 1.0, 1.6, 1.7, 4.0 (95% confidence interval, 2.0-8.1), and 5.5 (2.7-11.1) for 15-year incident diabetes and 1.0, 1.2, 1.7 (1.2-2.2), 2.3 (1.7-3.2), and 2.3 (1.7-3.2) for hypertension. Additional adjustment for year 0 alcohol consumption, body mass index, cigarette smoking, and physical activity attenuated this relationship, but GGT remained a significant predictor. Serum GGT within a range regarded as physiologically normal is associated with incident diabetes and hypertension. Considering known functionality of GGT, these associations are consistent with a role for oxidative stress in risk for diabetes and hypertension.
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              Definition, diagnosis and Classification of diabetes mellitus and its complications: Report of a WHO Consultation: Part I. Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus


                Author and article information

                Diabetes Care
                Diabetes Care
                Diabetes Care
                American Diabetes Association
                April 2009
                8 January 2009
                : 32
                : 4
                : 741-750
                1Medical Research Council Centre for Causal Analysis in Translational Epidemiology, Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, U.K.;
                2British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, U.K.;
                3Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, U.K.
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Abigail Fraser, abigail.fraser@ 123456bristol.ac.uk .
                © 2009 by the American Diabetes Association.

                Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.

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                Endocrinology & Diabetes


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