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Turk Kardiyol Dern Ars. 2011 Mar;39(2):122-8. doi: 10.5543/tkda.2011.01205.

Increased serum gamma-glutamyltransferase activity in patients with metabolic syndrome.

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Department of Cardiology, Medicine Faculty of Başkent University, Ankara, Turkey.



Accumulating data indicate that serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) activity represents a true marker of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and has prognostic importance. In this study, we sought to evaluate serum GGT activity in patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS).


We enrolled 232 patients (mean age 60.4 years) from our outpatient cardiology clinic, 117 with and 115 without MetS (control group) as defined by the ATP-III criteria. The results of serum liver function tests including serum GGT and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were compared between the two groups.


The two groups were similar with regard to age, sex, smoking, and family history of coronary artery disease (p>0.05). The prevalences of hypertension and dyslipidemia were significantly higher in patients with MetS. Compared with controls, patients with MetS had significantly higher serum GGT [(median 21, interquartile range (16-33) vs. 19 (14-26) U/l; p=0.008] and C-reactive protein levels [6.2 (3.6-9.4) vs. 5.0 (3.1-7.0) U/l; p=0.044]. A high GGT activity (>40 U/l) was determined in 14.5% of the patients with MetS and in 4.4% of the control subjects (p=0.012). Serum GGT level showed significant correlations with MetS (r=0.24, p=0.001), CRP (r=0.20, p=0.003), triglyceride (r=0.18, p=0.006), HDL cholesterol (r=-0.19, p=0.004), aspartate aminotransferase (r=0.15, p=0.02), alanine aminotransferase (r=0.32, p=0.001), and alkaline phosphatase (r=0.16, p=0.01). This significant association continued only for MetS (β=-0.25, p=0.03), HDL cholesterol (β=-0.18, p=0.03), and alkaline phosphatase (β=0.17, p=0.01) in multivariate regression analysis.


Our findings suggest that patients with MetS have higher serum GGT and CRP levels compared with controls. This increased GGT level might be a marker of increased oxidative stress and premature atherosclerosis.

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