Is serum gamma-glutamyltransferase inversely associated with serum antioxidants as a marker of oxidative stress?

Free Radic Biol Med. 2004 Oct 1;37(7):1018-23. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2004.06.032.


A series of studies in black and white women and men have suggested that serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) within its normal range might be an early marker of oxidative stress. If serum GGT is a marker of oxidative stress, it might have important implications both clinically and epidemiologically because measurement of serum GGT is easy, reliable, and not expensive. We examined the cross-sectional association between deciles of serum GGT and concentrations of serum antioxidants among 9083 adult participants in the third U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. After adjustment for race, sex, age, and total cholesterol, serum concentration of GGT across all deciles was inversely associated with serum concentrations of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin/lutein, lycopene, and vitamin C (p for trend <.01, respectively). Vitamin E was not associated with serum GGT. All these associations were not materially different after additional adjustment for total energy intake, body mass index, smoking status, smoking amount, alcohol intake, and exercise. These associations were similarly observed among most subgroups. In conclusion, the current and previous studies strongly suggest that serum GGT level within its normal range may be an early marker of oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood*
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Alanine Transaminase