Aminotransferase Levels Are Associated With Cardiometabolic Risk Above and Beyond Visceral Fat and Insulin Resistance: The Framingham Heart Study

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Abstract

Objective—

We sought to characterize associations between aminotransferase levels and cardiometabolic risk after accounting for visceral adipose tissue and insulin resistance.

Methods and Results—

Participants (n=2621) from the Framingham Heart Study (mean age 51, 49.8% women) were included. Sex-specific linear and logistic regressions were used to evaluate associations between aminotransferase levels and cardiometabolic risk factors. In multivariable models, increased alanine aminotransferase levels were associated with elevated blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, and triglycerides and lower high-density lipoprotein levels (all P≤0.007). Furthermore, each 1-SD increase in alanine aminotransferase corresponded to an increased odds of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, the metabolic syndrome, impaired fasting glucose, and insulin resistance estimated by the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (odds ratio, 1.29–1.85, all P≤0.002). Associations with alanine aminotransferase persisted after additional adjustment for visceral adipose tissue, insulin resistance, and body mass index with the exception of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in both sexes and blood pressure in women. Results were materially unchanged when moderate drinkers were excluded, when the sample was restricted to those with alanine aminotransferase <40 U/L, and when the sample was restricted to those without diabetes mellitus. Similar trends were observed for aspartate aminotransferase levels, but associations were more modest.

Conclusion—

Aminotransferase levels are correlated with multiple cardiometabolic risk factors above and beyond visceral adipose tissue and insulin resistance.

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