International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

Serum elevated gamma glutamyltransferase levels may be a marker for oxidative stress in Alzheimer's disease

Burcu Balam Yavuza1 c1, Bunyamin Yavuza2, Meltem Halila1, Mustafa Cankurtarana1, Zekeriya Ulgera1, Eylem Sahin Cankurtarana3, Kudret Aytemira4 and Servet Ariogula1

a1 Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Ankara, Turkey

a2 Kecioren Research Hospital, Department of Cardiology, Ankara, Turkey

a3 Ankara Oncology Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Ankara, Turkey.

a4 Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Cardiology, Ankara, Turkey


Background: Gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT) plays a role in cellular glutathione uptake, which is an important element of antioxidant mechanisms. An increase in serum GGT is thought to be an early and sensitive marker of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The aim of this study was to investigate the GGT levels in AD.

Method: In this cross-sectional study, 132 patients with AD (mean age: 74.1 ± 7.4, female 62.9%) and 158 age- and gender-matched normal controls (mean age: 74.5 ± 6.3, female 67.1%) were evaluated. For cognitive assessment, MMSE and clock drawing tests were performed; DSM-IV and NINCDS-ADRDA criteria were used. Serum GGT, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase concentrations were determined.

Results: Median (min-max) GGT levels were 18 (9–70) in AD group and 17 (5–32) in normal controls. Mann-Whitney U test showed that GGT levels were significantly higher in AD patients (p = 0.012). Linear regression analysis revealed AD was an independent correlate of elevated GGT levels. Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, total cholesterol, and low density lipoprotein cholesterol were not associated with GGT levels.

Conclusion: GGT levels were increased significantly in AD patients. To evaluate the role of GGT as a marker of oxidative stress in AD, further studies are needed.

(Received November 13 2007)

(Online publication December 12 2007)

(Revised December 17 2007)

(Accepted December 18 2007)

(Online publication April 17 2008)


c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Burcu Balam Yavuz, Hacettepe University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Sihhiye, 06100, Ankara, Turkey. Phone: +903123053071; Fax: +903123051538. Email: