Estimation of gamma-glutamyl transferase as a suitable simple biomarker of the cardiovascular risk in children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Research conducted in adults has proven that GGT can also be an independent risk factor for CVD. The aim of this study was to ascertain if GGT can be regarded as a simple biomarker of cardiovascular risk in obese children with NAFLD. One hundred obese children, aged 7-17 years, with suspected liver pathology were admitted to our Department. Viral hepatitis and autoimmune, toxic and selected metabolic liver diseases were excluded. Anthropometry, laboratory tests, 1HMR spectroscopy and evaluation of the common carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) were performed in all subjects. NAFLD was confirmed in 38 obese patients. There was a significantly higher activity of GGT and ALT, the concentration of total and LDL cholesterol, waist circumference, left coronary artery IMT, mean IMT value and total lipids in 1HMRS in children with NAFLD in comparison to non-hepatopathic obese children. Logistic regression analysis indicated that GGT, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, left IMT and waist circumference significantly affected the development of NAFLD in obese children. In ROC analysis only GGT, waist circumference and left IMT allowed to differentiate children with NAFLD from those without steatosis with GGT having the highest result (AUC=0.94). GGT activity in patients revealed weak or at the upper limit of statistical significance correlation with traditional cardiovascular risk factors: glucose level, waist circumference, BMI, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and insulin level. This allows to suggest, that GGT might be a potential reliable, simple and non-invasive biochemical marker for estimation of cardiovascular risk in obese children with NAFLD. However, further studies on larger population are necessary to confirm that observation.
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