Journal Article

A Strong Secular Trend in Serum Gamma-Glutamyltransferase from 1996 to 2003 among South Korean Men

Duk-Hee Lee, Myung-Hwa Ha, Sin Kam, Byungyeol Chun, Jangkyu Lee, Kyungeun Song, Yongchool Boo, Lyn Steffen and David R. Jacobs

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 163, issue 1, pages 57-65
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online November 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
A Strong Secular Trend in Serum Gamma-Glutamyltransferase from 1996 to 2003 among South Korean Men

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Serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) concentration, within its normal range, has recently been proposed as a reliable marker of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress plays a central pathogenic role in many metabolic and/or cardiovascular diseases, incidences of which have recently increased in South Korea. Since serum GGT has strong associations with these diseases and their risk factors, the authors hypothesized a corresponding secular trend of increasing serum GGT levels in South Korea. Study subjects were 8,072 male workers at a large steel company who were aged 24–44 years at baseline and had received annual physical examinations from 1996 to 2003. The secular trend was a 0.1066-units/liter increase in ln(GGT) level per calendar year (a 180% increase during the 7-year follow-up period) (p < 0.01). Adjustment for body mass index, alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise, and cholesterol level as time-dependent covariates did not change the results. Although cholesterol is commonly used as a marker of epidemiologic transition, there was a less dramatic secular trend in ln(serum cholesterol) level, and it disappeared after adjustment for the secular trend in serum GGT. These findings suggest that serum GGT concentration can be used as a sensitive marker of epidemiologic transition, and they portend a continuing rise in incidences of metabolic and/or cardiovascular diseases in this population in the coming years.

Keywords: aging; alanine transaminase; cholesterol; gamma-glutamyltransferase; Korea; oxidative stress; time; ALT, alanine aminotransferase; GGT, gamma-glutamyltransferase

Journal Article.  4761 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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