Aims: The ratio of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) to alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is of great interest as a possible novel marker of metabolic syndrome. However, longitudinal studies emphasizing the incremental predictive value of the AST-to-ALT ratio in diagnosing individuals at higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome are very scarce. Therefore, our study aimed to evaluate the AST-to-ALT ratio as an incremental predictor of new onset metabolic syndrome in a population-based cohort study. Material and Methods: The population-based cohort study included 2276 adults (903 men and 1373 women) aged 40-70 years, who participated from 2005-2008 (baseline) without metabolic syndrome and were followed up from 2008-2011. Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the harmonized definition of metabolic syndrome. Serum concentrations of AST and ALT were determined by enzymatic methods. Results: During an average follow-up period of 2.6-years, 395 individuals (17.4%) developed metabolic syndrome. In a multivariable adjusted model, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for new onset of metabolic syndrome, comparing the fourth quartile to the first quartile of the AST-to-ALT ratio, was 0.598 (0.422-0.853). The AST-to-ALT ratio also improved the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) for predicting new cases of metabolic syndrome (0.715 vs. 0.732, P = 0.004). The net reclassification improvement of prediction models including the AST-to-ALT ratio was 0.23 (95% CI: 0.124-0.337, P<0.001), and the integrated discrimination improvement was 0.0094 (95% CI: 0.0046-0.0143, P<0.001). Conclusions: The AST-to-ALT ratio independently predicted the future development of metabolic syndrome and had incremental predictive value for incident metabolic syndrome.
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© 2016 Yadav et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.