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28-10-2009 | Diabetes | Article

ALT level predicts prediabetes in German adults


Free abstract

MedWire News: Alanine-aminotransferase (ALT) is an independent predictor for impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), a precursor to Type 2 diabetes, show results from a German worksite population.

The BASF (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory) Occupational Medicine and Health Protection Department offered a diabetes screening program to its 33,000 employees in 2006, of whom 1594 had their diabetes risk tested.

Michael Morcos and fellow researchers from the University of Heidelberg found that of all the employees tested, 374 had the metabolic syndrome according to the International Diabetes Federation criteria.

They also found that 285 had a medium-to-high risk for IGT and Type 2 diabetes according to the Finrisk scoring system, of whom 157, aged 49 years on average, underwent the oral glucose tolerance test.

Of the 157 individuals tested, 18% had either IGT (n=22) or Type 2 diabetes (n=5).

Following adjustment for various confounding factors including age and gender, fasting glucose and ALT were the only independent predictors of IGT.

More specifically, mean fasting glucose was 97 mg/dl in individuals with normoglycemia and 103 mg/dl in those with IGT. In addition, ALT levels were 28 U/l in normoglycemic participants and 36 U/l in those with IGT.

Participants in the upper quartile for ALT and fasting glucose had a significant 4.8 and 5.5-fold increased risk for Type 2 diabetes compared with the lower quartile, respectively.

“These data point to an important role of the liver in insulin resistance and the development of IGT in the relatively young and small population studied,” conclude the authors in the journal Acta Diabetologia.

They add: “Our data support the intention to study ALT as a potential predictive marker of IGT and diabetes Type 2 in more detail in a larger population in a prospective, randomized study.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2009

By Helen Albert