Objectives: Elevated liver enzymes including alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) may be associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and cardiovascular disease. We investigated the association of cardiometabolic risk factors and liver enzymes in a nationally representative sample of Iranian children and adolescents.
Methods: The national study was conducted in the framework of the third survey of Childhood and Adolescence Surveillance and PreventIon of Adult Non-communicable Disease study. Subjects were 3948 students (1942 girls, 67.55% urban, mean age 14.7 ± 2.4 years) who were recruited by multistage random cluster sampling from 27 provincial counties in Iran. Physical examination and laboratory tests were conducted under standard protocols.
Results: Participants with elevated serum ALT had higher levels of almost all cardiometabolic risk factors than other participants; this difference was not significant for fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, and diastolic blood pressure in both sexes, as well as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in girls. Participants with generalized and abdominal obesity, MetS, elevated blood pressure, triglycerides, and total cholesterol had increased risk for elevated ALT; this risk remained significant after adjusting for sex and age. Low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was found as a predictor for both elevated ALT (odds ratio 2.182, 95% confidence interval 1.533–3.105) and AST (odds ratio 2.022, 95% confidence interval 1.438–2.844) even after adjusting for all potential confounders. General (B 0.158, SE 0.030) and abdominal obesity (B 0.058, SE 0.029), MetS (B 0.231, SE 0.048), and triglycerides (B 0.094, SE 0.030) were associated with ALT:AST ratio after adjusting for all potential confounders (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: We documented strong relations of elevated ALT, AST levels, and ALT:AST ratio with most cardiometabolic risk factors. This relation was independent of anthropometric indexes. Liver enzymes can be considered as a cardiometabolic risk factor from childhood, and as an additional component of the MetS.
*Department of Food and Nutrition Policy and Planning Research, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran
†Department of Public Health, Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj
‡Pediatrics Department, Child Growth and Development Research Center, and Faculty of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan
§Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran
¶Department of Pediatrics, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz
#Department of Medical Emergencies, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom
**Chronic Diseases Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Population Sciences Institute, Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Ramin Heshmat, Chronic Diseases Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Population Sciences Institute, Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1457965597, Iran (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received 9 November, 2013
Accepted 9 November, 2013
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The survey was funded by the Iran Child Growth and Development Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, and the Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.