Background: The objective of this study was to determine the upper normal limit of serum alanine aminotransferase level in a population-based study in Golestan Province, northeast Iran.
Methods: From the randomly invited individuals (2,292), 698 out of the 916 males and 1,351 out of the 1,376 females participated in the study (participation rate: 76.2% and 98.1%, respectively). One hundred and twenty-one participants were excluded due to positive hepatitis B surface antigen or hepatitis C virus antibody and/or drinking more than 20 grams of alcohol per day. A total of 1,928 participants (1300 females) were included. The upper normal limit of serum alanine aminotransferase level was defined as the 95th percentile.
Results: The upper normal limit of serum alanine aminotransferase level in normal weight and nondiabetics was significantly lower than the total study group (36 versus 45 U/L). Serum alanine aminotransferase level was independently associated with male gender, body mass index, and diabetes mellitus (OR=2.05; 95%CI: 1.44 - 2.94, OR=2.76; 95%CI: 1.84 - 4.13, and OR=2.96; 95%CI: 1.56 - 5.61, respectively).
Conclusion: Considering the lower calculated upper normal limit in normal weight nondiabetic participants in this study, we recommend setting new upper normal limit for serum alanine aminotransferase level. It seems reasonable to set upper normal limit for serum alanine aminotransferase level in males and females separately.