Serum gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase was determined in 123 alcoholic patients and found elevated in all patients with liver disease but in only 52% of patients without significant liver disease. In patients without clinically obvious liver disease, the elevations were two to three times the upper limit of normal and decreased to normal in 80% of patients, eight weeks after abstinence. By contrast, in patients with liver disease, the elevations of serum gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase were of the order of eight to 10 times above normal and persisted at these high levels following eight weeks of abstinence. The degree of abnormality of the serum enzyme did not correlate with the daily amount of alcohol ingested or with the total length of time of alcohol consumption in these alcoholic patients. This study shows that serum gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase is persistently elevated in patients with clinically obvious liver injury, but only in 22% of chronic alcoholics without significant liver disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas