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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1994 Apr;18(2):228-30.

Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin during 3 weeks' heavy alcohol consumption.

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  • 1Research Unit of Alcohol Diseases, University of Helsinki, Finland.


To study the effect of controlled heavy drinking of 60 g ethanol/day for 3 weeks on carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), a commercial double antibody kit (CDTect) was used. By the end of the third drinking week, a statistically significant increase in the mean CDT level was observed. When compared to AST and gamma-glutamyltransferase, CDT was a more informative marker. However, only in 2 of the 10 volunteers did CDT exceed the upper normal level (20 units/liter) recommended by the manufacturer. This indicates that the sensitivity of CDT to detect heavy drinking is lower than that previously reported. The higher accuracy has in general been obtained in studies comparing healthy controls with a low alcohol consumption to alcoholics with an alcohol consumption higher than that used in the present experiment. Our results suggest that it remains to be established whether CDT, although better than AST and gamma-glutamyltransferase, will provide a clinically useful tool in identifying heavy drinkers in populations covering a wide range of alcohol consumption.

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