This site is intended for healthcare professionals
General Practice Notebook
Login | Register
Medical search

GGT and alcohol intake

FREE subscriptions for doctors and students... click here
You have 3 open access pages.

  • Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) is a membrane-bound glycoprotein enzyme
    • catalyzes the transfer of the gamma-glutamyl moiety of glutathione to various peptide acceptors
    • chronic ethanol consumption is known to readily induce a rise in serum GGT
      • there is a positive correlation between ethanol intake and serum GGT activity
        • the WHO/ISBRA collaborative project on markers of alcoholism indicated elevated serum GGT concentrations in 52% of alcohol-dependent subjects (1)
        • the sensitivity of GGT as an alcohol marker has usually shown to be higher for men than for women (1)
    • due to the lack of specificity, GGT is a poor marker when alcohol consumption needs to be screened in patients with non-alcoholic liver diseases or in hospitalised patients
      • GGT is increased in all forms of liver disease, particularly in cases of intra- or posthepatic biliary obstruction
        • small increases (2-5 times normal) are observed in fatty liver
    • in alcoholics, serum GGT may help to distinguish those with or without liver disease
      • interpretation of GGT with respect to ALT and AST
        • raised level of GGT must be interpreted in the context of other liver function tests (2)
          • mild liver disease tends to result in a ratio of alanine transaminase (ALT) to aspartate transaminase (AST) of greater than 1 and therefore with an AST of 30 and an ALT of 60, a patient with a non-alcoholic fatty liver would have a raised GGT
          • more extensive liver disease tends to result in an ALT to AST ratio of less than 1 and therefore a raised GGT with an AST of 70 and an ALT of 30 is compatible (but not diagnostic of) alcohol damage
          • in a patient who is known to abuse alcohol; if the AST and ALT are normal then the GGT may provide an indicator of recent alcohol intake
    • alcohol cessation and relation to GGT
      • increased activities usually return to normal if the patient abstains from alcohol with a normalization time of 2-3 weeks
      • helping to distinguish those with or without liver disease and relationship to normalization of GGT
        • persistently abnormal values in the absence of continuing ethanol exposure suggest liver disease, typically when GGT is initially 8-10 times normal and if the elevation persists after 6-8 weeks of abstention from alcohol (1)
        • if initial GGT levels are only 2-3 times normal and return to normal after abstention, the patient is likely to be devoid of liver disease (1)

Reference:

Links:

General Practice Notebook
General Practice Notebook
The information provided herein should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Copyright 2016 Oxbridge Solutions LtdĀ®. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions LtdĀ® receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence. GPnotebook stores small data files on your computer called cookies so that we can recognise you and provide you with the best service. If you do not want to receive cookies please do not use GPnotebook.