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Hum Psychopharmacol. 2012 Nov;27(6):559-65. doi: 10.1002/hup.2264. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Relationship between carbohydrate-deficient transferrin, gamma-glutamyl transferase, and mean corpuscular volume levels and alcohol-related brain volume decreases in male drinkers.

Author information

1
Department of Psychopharmacology, Utrecht Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We investigated the association between mean corpuscular volume (MCV), carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) levels and gray and white brain matter in male drinkers to find out which if any of these biomarkers of alcohol consumption is indicative for alcohol-related differences in brain volume.

METHOD:

Plasma levels of CDT, GGT, and MCV and magnetic resonance imaging-determined brain gray and white matter volumes were assessed in 55 male drinkers. Current alcohol intake and lifetime alcohol intake were determined by self-report measures. The relationship between MCV, CDT, and GGT and brain volumes was explored using multiple linear regression analyses.

RESULTS:

There was a significant negative relationship between plasma GGT and MCV levels and gray matter volumes. Middle-aged male drinkers with highly elevated GGT and MCV levels (twice the standard deviation above the mean) have 4-12% less parietal and occipital gray matter than males with average GGT and MCV levels. There was no association between CDT levels and brain gray or white matter.

CONCLUSIONS:

Elevated GGT and MCV levels may be indicative of alcohol-related gray-matter decline in male drinkers. The link with GGT may reflect that elevated GGT levels are a sign of increased oxidative stress. The link with MCV levels may reflect a decreased oxygen transport to the brain.

PMID:
23027680
DOI:
10.1002/hup.2264
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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