Effect of hormone balance on carbohydrate-deficient transferrin and gamma-glutamyltransferase in female social drinkers

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2000 Oct;24(10):1505-9.


Background: Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) are the most commonly used markers for alcohol abuse, but their sensitivity and specificity are lower and have different reference values among females compared with males. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of women's hormone balance on these two alcohol markers, as well as on their mathematical combination, named gamma-CDT.

Methods: An age-stratified random sample of 3962 women, between 25-74 years old, was drawn from the normal population. Pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, intrauterine device for contraception, hormone replacement therapy, and hormone treatment for infertility were considered. A comparison between fertile, peri- and postmenopausal women was also done.

Results: Existing pregnancy increased CDT levels but decreased GGT values. Lower CDT and higher GGT levels were observed among those women using oral contraceptives and in postmenopausal women compared with women at the fertile stage. gamma-CDT was not influenced by hormone balance.

Conclusions: The different hormonal status had an opposite effect on CDT and GGT. Women who were close to late menopause had levels of both markers closer to the values of men. It must be pointed out that the findings presented here are based on measurements of absolute CDT values and that no measurements of total transferrin were done. gamma-CDT, not influenced by hormone balance, indicates promising clinical utility among women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Body Mass Index
  • Contraceptives, Oral / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Fertility Agents, Female / administration & dosage*
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices
  • Menopause / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Transferrin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Transferrin / metabolism*
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood*


  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Fertility Agents, Female
  • Transferrin
  • carbohydrate-deficient transferrin
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase