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J Hepatol. 2009 May;50(5):1035-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2008.12.025. Epub 2009 Feb 18.

Genetic factors contribute to variation in serum alanine aminotransferase activity independent of obesity and alcohol: a study in monozygotic and dizygotic twins.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Diabetes, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland. janne.makkonen@helsinki.fi

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

This study aimed to determine the heritability of serum alanine aminotransferase (S-ALT) and fasting serum insulin (fS-insulin) concentration as well as determine the association of these measures with liver fat content in young adult monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins.

METHODS:

Three hundred and thirteen individual twins were recruited from a population-based cohort (n = 4929). The study subjects represented a wide range of body mass indexes (BMI), were free of any diseases or regular medications and had an intake of less than two drinks of alcohol/day. To verify that S-ALT is a marker of liver fat, it was measured by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H MRS) in 66 subjects. Heritability estimations were performed using BMI- and gender-adjusted values.

RESULTS:

Intra-pair correlations were significantly higher in the MZ twins than the DZ twins for both S-ALT (0.65 for MZ and 0.04 for DZ) and fS-insulin (0.58 and 0.34, respectively). Heritability of S-ALT was 55% and that of fS-insulin 61%. In the 66 subjects S-ALT (r = 0.70 for women and r = 0.50 for men, p < or = 0.01 for both) and fS-insulin (r = 0.58 and r = 0.59, respectively, p < or = 0.01 for both) concentrations correlated significantly with liver fat content.

CONCLUSIONS:

These twin data suggest that approximately 60% of the variation in S-ALT, a marker of liver fat content, is genetically determined.

PMID:
19303161
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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