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Diabetes Care. 2005 Jul;28(7):1757-62.

Liver enzymes, the metabolic syndrome, and incident diabetes: the Mexico City diabetes study.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa School of Medicine, Via Roma, 67, 56126 Pisa, Italy.



To test the hypothesis that enzymes conventionally associated with liver dysfunction (aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyltransferase [GGT], and alkaline phosphatase) may predict diabetes.


From a population-based diabetes survey, we selected 1,441 men and women in whom serum enzyme levels were < or =3 SDs of the mean population value, alcohol intake was <250 g/week, and hepatitis B and C virus testing was negative. At follow-up (7 years), 94 subjects developed diabetes and 93 impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).


At baseline, all four enzymes were related to most of the features of the metabolic syndrome. After controlling for sex, age, adiposity/fat distribution, alcohol intake, serum lipids, and blood pressure, higher alanine aminotransferase and GGT values were significantly (P < 0.01) associated with both IGT and diabetes, whereas alkaline phosphatase was associated with diabetes only (P = 0.0004) and aspartate aminotransferase with IGT only (P = 0.0001). Raised GGT alone was associated with all the features of the metabolic syndrome. Raised GGT was a significant predictor of either IGT or diabetes (odds ratio 1.62 [95% CI 1.08-2.42] top quartile vs. lower quartiles, P < 0.02) after controlling for sex, age, adiposity/fat distribution, alcohol consumption, fasting plasma insulin and proinsulin levels, and 2-h postglucose plasma glucose concentrations.


Although mild elevations in liver enzymes are associated with features of the metabolic syndrome, only raised GGT is an independent predictor of deterioration of glucose tolerance to IGT or diabetes. As GGT signals oxidative stress, the association with diabetes may reflect both hepatic steatosis and enhanced oxidative stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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