Gamma glutamyltranspeptidase activity and viral hepatitis in dialysis population

Fabrizio Fabrizi, A. F. de Vecchi, A. R. Qureshi, F. Aucella, G. Lunghi, A. Bruchfeld, S. Bisegna, S. Mangano, A. Limido, D. Vigilante, M. Forcella, P. delli Carri, P. Martin

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14 Scopus citations


Background: Numerous investigations have reported that viral hepatitis is associated with significant hepatocellular damage, as expressed by raised aminotransferases in serum, in dialysis population. However, scarce information exists on the activity of gamma glutamyltranspeptidase (GGTP) in dialysis patients with infection by hepatotropic viruses. Objectives: We measured serum GGTP values in a large cohort (n=757) of patients receiving long-term dialysis; healthy controls were also included. The relationship between GGTP values and a series of demographic, clinical, and biochemical parameters was analyzed. Methods: Serum GGTP levels were tested by spectrophotometry. A subset (n=333) of dialysis patients was tested by molecular technology (branched-chain DNA (bDNA) assay) to evaluate the relationship between serum GGTP and HCV viremia. A subgroup (n=78) of dialysis patients was analyzed by an ultrasound scan of gallbladder and biliary tract to assess the presence of gallstone disease. Multivariate analyses were made using regression models; serum GGTP values were included as a dependent variable. The usefulness of serum GGTP levels in detecting HBsAg and anti-HCV positivity was evaluated using receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve analysis. Results: Univariate analysis showed that serum GGTP levels were significantly higher in HBsAg positive and/or anti-HCV positive patients than in HBsAg negative/anti-HCV negative patients on dialysis; 85.1±184.1 versus 25.86±23.9 IU/I (P=0.0001). The frequency of raised GGTP levels was 22.2% (41/184) among dialysis patients with chronic viral hepatitis. Multivariate analysis showed a significant and independent association between serum GGTP values and positive HBsAg (P=0.005) and anti-HCV antibody (P=0.0001) status. Mean GGTP values were significantly higher in study patients than controls, 32.32±60.02 versus 23.5±16.92 IU/L (P=0.01); however, no significant difference with regard to GGTP between study and healthy cohorts persisted after correction for age, gender, race, and viral markers. No relationship between gallstone disease and serum GGTP was found (NS). An independent and significant association (P=0.0291) between raised GGTP levels and detectable HCV RNA in serum was noted among patients tested by biology molecular techniques. ROC technology demonstrated that GGTP was equally useful for detecting HBV (P=0.0004) and HCV (P=0.0005) among dialysis patients. Conclusions: We found an independent and significant association between serum GGTP values and HBsAg and/or anti-HCV antibody in dialysis population. Twenty-two percent of dialysis patients with chronic viral hepatitis had elevated GGTP. No difference in GGTP between HBsAg- negative/anti-HCV-negative dialysis patients and healthy individuals was found. Routine testing for serum GGTP levels to assess liver disease induced by hepatotropic viruses or other agents in dialysis population is suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-15
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Organs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Dialysis
  • Gamma glutamyltranspeptidase
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Hepatitis C virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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