Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is a marker of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and predicts incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2). Recently, ALT was shown to be also associated with endothelial dysfunction and carotid atherosclerosis. We studied the predictive value of ALT for all-cause mortality, incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) events in a population-based cohort of Caucasian men and women aged 50-75 years, at baseline. The 10-year risk of all-cause mortality, fatal and non-fatal CVD and CHD events in relation to ALT was assessed in 1439 subjects participating in the Hoorn Study, using Cox survival analysis. Subjects with prevalent CVD/CHD and missing data were excluded. As compared with the first tertile, the age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for all-cause mortality, CVD events and CHD events were 1.30 (0.92-1.83), 1.40 (1.09-1.81) and 2.04 (1.35-3.10), respectively, for subjects in the upper tertile of ALT. After adjustment for components of the metabolic syndrome and traditional risk factors, the association of ALT and CHD events remained significant for subjects in the third relative to those in the first tertile, with a hazard ratio of 1.88 (1.21-2.92) and 1.75 (1.12-2.73), respectively. In conclusion, the predictive value of ALT for coronary events, seems independent of traditional risk factors and the features of the metabolic syndrome in a population-based cohort. Further studies should confirm these findings and elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms.