Diagnosis of alcohol-related neurological diseases by analysis of carbohydrate-deficient transferrin in serum

Acta Neurol Scand. 1993 Oct;88(4):279-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1993.tb04236.x.


Analysis of carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) in serum has been shown to be a good marker of current regular alcohol consumption at levels that are potentially harmful both to the liver and the nervous system. In this study CDT was analyzed by anion exchange chromatography and the results were evaluated in 134 consecutively examined patients with neurological symptoms of possible or probable alcohol-related etiology. A total of 22% of the patients were regarded as current alcohol abusers and 93% of them had elevated CDT values. The majority of these cases suffered from diseases such as epilepsy, neuropathies, cerebral atrophy/dementia and cerebellopathy. Most of them were still in a socially functioning condition. Low alcohol consuming patients and abstaining patients with a previous history of alcohol abuse had CDT levels within the normal range. The results demonstrated that determination of CDT is a valuable tool in the diagnosis of alcohol-related neurological disorders provided that its biological turnover is taken into account.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Biomarkers
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / blood*
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Transferrin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Transferrin / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Transferrin
  • carbohydrate-deficient transferrin
  • Ethanol