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Gamma glutamyltransferase ( GGT )

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Gamma-glytamyl transpeptidase is an enzyme which is found in hepatocytes and biliary epithelial cells. GGT may be high in liver disease. In particular it is a feature of biliary outflow obstruction rather than hepatocellular damage.

  • GGT (in men) = 11 - 50 i.u./l
  • GGT (in women) = 7 - 32 i.u./l

Note reference ranges may vary between laboratories.

GGT serum measurement provides a very sensitive indicator of the presence or absence of hepatobiliary disease. However the usefulness of measurement of serum GGT is limited by its lack of specificity. Raised GGT levels have been reported in a variety of clinical conditions including (1):

  • pancreatic disease
  • myocardial infarction
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • renal failure
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • alcoholism

Drugs such as phenytoin and barbiturates may cause high GGT levels (2).

The reported sensitivity of a raised GGT for detecting alcohol ingestion has ranged from 52% to 94% (3,4).

The linked page GGT in hepatobiliary disease details hepatobiliary causes of a raised GGT.


  • (1) Goldberg DM, Martin JV (1975). Role of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase activity in the diagnosis of hepatobiliary disease. Digestion, 12, 232-46.
  • (2) Rosalki SB et al (1971). Plasma gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase elevation in patients receiving enzyme - inducing drugs. Lancet, 2, 376-7.
  • (3) Moussavian SN et al (1985). Serum gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and chronic alcoholism: influence of alcohol ingestion and liver disease. Dig Dis Sci, 30, 211-4.
  • (4) Orrego H et al (1985). Relationship between gamma - glutamyl transpeptidase and mean urinary alcohol levels in alcoholics while drinking after alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol Cliln Exp Res, 9, 10-3.

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