The dark side of gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT): Pathogenic effects of an 'antioxidant' enzyme

Free Radic Biol Med. 2020 Nov 20;160:807-819. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2020.09.005. Epub 2020 Sep 9.


Having long been regarded as just a member in the cellular antioxidant systems, as well as a clinical biomarker of hepatobiliary diseases and alcohol abuse, gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) enzyme activity has been highlighted by more recent research as a critical factor in modulation of redox equilibria within the cell and in its surroundings. Moreover, due to the prooxidant reactions which can originate during its metabolic function in selected conditions, experimental and clinical studies are increasingly involving GGT in the pathogenesis of several important disease conditions, such as atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, lung inflammation, neuroinflammation and bone disorders. The present article is an overview of the laboratory findings that have prompted an evolution in interpretation of the significance of GGT in human pathophysiology.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Bone resorption; Cancer cells; Cysteine-glycine; Cystic fibrosis; Gamma-glutamyltransferase; Glutathione; Iron; Lipid peroxidation; Neuroinflammation; Protein S-thiolation.

Publication types

  • Review