Background: Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an independent cardiovascular (CV) risk factor which is closely associated with insulin resistance measured by both direct or indirect methods. Gender specific findings in the relationship between alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and CV disease, the prevalence of NAFLD and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) have been published recently. Patients and methods: 158 female (47 normal and 111 impaired glucose intolerant) and 148 male (74 normal and 74 impaired glucose tolerant) subjects were included (mean age: 46.5 ± 8.31 vs. 41.6 ± 11.3, average Hba1c < 6.1 %, i.e. prediabetic population, drug naive at the time of the study). Subjects underwent a hyperinsulinemic normoglycemic clamp to determine muscle glucose uptake (M3), besides liver function tests and other fasting metabolic and anthropometric parameters were determined. Results: Significant bivariate correlations were found between clamp measured M3 and all three liver enzymes (ALT, aspartate aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transferase) in both sexes. When data were adjusted for possible metabolic confounding factors correlations ceased in the male population but stayed significant in the female group. Feature selection analysis showed that ALT is an important attribute for M3 in the female but not in male group (mean Z: 3.85 vs. 0.107). Multiple regression analysis confirmed that BMI (p < 0.0001) and ALT (p = 0.00991) significantly and independently predicted clamp measured muscle glucose uptake in women (R2 = 0.5259), while in men serum fasting insulin (p = 0.0210) and leptin levels (p = 0.0294) but none of the liver enzymes were confirmed as significant independent predictors of M3 (R2 = 0.4989). Conclusion: There is a gender specific association between insulin sensitivity, metabolic risk factors and liver transaminase levels. This might explain the sex difference in the predictive role of ALT elevation for CV disease. Moreover, ALT may be used as a simple diagnostic tool to identify insulin resistant subjects only in the female population according to our results.
- Alanin aminotransferase
- Gender difference
- Insulin sensitivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine