Gamma-glutamyltransferase and risk of hypertension: a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis of prospective evidence

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The objective of this review was to obtain a reliable estimate of the magnitude of the prospective association between gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) and risk of hypertension, and to characterize the nature of the dose–response relationship. We conducted a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis of published prospective studies. Relevant studies were identified in a literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases up to May 2015. Study-specific relative risks (RRs) were meta-analyzed using random effects models. We examined a potential nonlinear relationship using restricted cubic splines. Of the 612 titles reviewed, we included 14 cohort studies with data on 44 582 participants and 5 270 hypertension cases. In a comparison of extreme thirds of baseline levels of GGT, RR for hypertension in pooled analysis of all 14 studies was 1.32 (95% confidence interval: 1.23–1.43). There was heterogeneity among the studies (P < 0.001), which was to a large part explained by average age of participants at baseline, average duration of follow-up, and the degree of confounder adjustment. In a pooled dose–response analysis of 10 studies with relevant data, there was evidence of a linear association between GGT and hypertension risk (P for nonlinearity = 0.37). The pooled RR of hypertension per 5 U/l increment in GGT levels was 1.08 (95% confidence interval: 1.04–1.13). Baseline circulating GGT level is associated with an increased risk of hypertension in the general population, consistent with a linear dose–response relationship. Further investigation of any potential relevance of GGT in hypertension prevention is warranted.

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