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J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2004 Jul-Aug;7(4):319-37.

Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT)--a biomarker for long-term alcohol consumption.

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  • 1Institute for Occupational Physiology at the University of Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany.


Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) is a biomarker for chronic alcohol intake of more than 60 g ethanol/d. It has been reported to be superior to conventional markers like gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) and mean corpuscular volume MCV). This review covers theoretical and analytical aspects, with data from controlled drinking experiments and from different population subgroups such as subjects with different liver diseases or different drinking patterns. CDT determinations are particularly indicated in (1) cases of chronic alcohol consumption and relapses after withdrawal, (2) license reapplication after driving under alcohol influence, (3) differentiating patients with enzyme-inducing medication from those with alcohol abuse, 4) congenital disorders of glycosylation such as carbohydrate-deficient glycoprotein syndrome Ia (CDGS Ia), and (5) patients treated for galactosemia. The main advantage of CDT is its high specificity, as evidenced in combination with increased alcohol consumption. CDT values are not markedly influenced by medication except in immunosuppressed patients, who may show low CDT values. In general, CDT values appear less elevated after alcohol intake in women. The main disadvantage is the relatively low sensitivity. Hence, this parameter is not suitable for screening for subjects with alcohol abuse in the general population. As CDT, GGT, and MCV are connected with chronic alcohol consumption by different pathophysiological mechanisms, a combination of these parameters will further improve the diagnostic value.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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