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Hypertension. 2005 Nov;46(5):1186-93. Epub 2005 Oct 3.

Body fat distribution, liver enzymes, and risk of hypertension: evidence from the Western New York Study.

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Department of Social & Preventive Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.


Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) has been associated with hypertension (HTN); however, the nature of this association remains unclear. GGT is a marker of alcohol consumption, but it is also related to the infiltration of fat in the liver (fatty liver). The association between GGT and HTN was examined in a 6-year longitudinal investigation among 1455 men and women who returned for the follow-up visit. Baseline variables included serum GGT, blood pressure, and anthropometric measures. Incident HTN was defined as blood pressure > or =140/90 or on antihypertensive medication at the follow-up visit. To eliminate individuals with potential liver pathology, analyses focused only on individuals with GGT within its normal range (n=897). Participants were divided in quintiles (Q) based on their baseline GGT levels. Multiple logistic regression analyses [odds ratio (95% confidence intervals)] revealed a significant association of GGT with incident hypertension [2.1 (1.1 to 4.0) Q5 versus Q1]. In subgroup analyses, GGT and HTN were significantly associated among both noncurrent and current drinkers, but only for participants above the median of anthropometric measures [eg, body mass index >26.4, 2.3 (0.9 to 5.7), waist circumference >86.1 cm, 3.7 (1.4 to 9.9), and abdominal height >19.8 cm, 3.1 (1.2 to 8.5), for Q5 versus Q1, in fully adjusted models]. These findings suggest that the association between GGT and hypertension is not caused solely by alcohol consumption and indicate that serum GGT, within its normal range, may predict hypertension among individuals with increased central fat distribution, suggesting that fatty liver may represent an important underlying mechanism for this association.

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