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Concept: Aspartate transaminase


Elevation of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is prominent in acute dengue illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) 2009 dengue guidelines defined AST or ALT ≥ 1000 units/liter (U/L) as a criterion for severe dengue. We aimed to assess the clinical relevance and discriminatory value of AST or ALT for dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and severe dengue.

Concepts: Malaria, Liver function tests, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Fever, Dengue fever, World Health Organization, EC 2.6.1


BACKGROUND: Cichorium glandulosum Boiss. et Huet is used for treatment of liver disorders, and its effects are attributed to sesquiterpenes. This study aims to investigate the hepatoprotective effects of a sesquiterpene-rich fraction (SRF) from the aerial part of C. glandulosum on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced acute hepatotoxicity in mice, and on priming with Bacillus Calmette–Guerin (BCG) followed by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced immunological liver injury in mice. METHODS: SRF was suspended in water and administered to mice at 0.05, 0.10 and 0.20 g/kg body weight for 7 consecutive days. An active control drug (bifendate pills) was suspended in distilled water and administered to mice at 0.40 g/kg body weight for 7 consecutive days. Hepatotoxicity was induced by intraperitoneal injection of 0.1% CCl4 (0.2 mL/mouse) at 13 h before the last drug administration, or by tail intravenous injection of BCG (0.2 mL/mouse) before the first drug administration and LPS (0.2 mL/mouse; 8 mug) at 15 h before the last drug administration. Blood samples and the livers were collected for evaluation of the biochemical parameters of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and total bilirubin (TBIL). RESULTS: SRF significantly reduced the impact of CCl4 toxicity. The highest dose of SRF (0.20 g/kg) was the most effective, reflected by significant reductions in the levels of AST (P = 0.001), ALT (P = 0.000) and TBIL (P = 0.009). The serum enzymatic levels induced by BCG and subsequent LPS injection were significantly and dose-dependently restored by SRF, reflected by significant reductions in the levels of AST (P = 0.003), ALT (P = 0.003) and TBIL (P = 0.007) for the highest dose of SRF (0.20 g/kg). CONCLUSION: SRF is hepatoprotective in animal models of chemical and immunological acute liver injury.

Concepts: Liver, Liver function tests, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Hepatology, Bilirubin, Hepatotoxicity, Chemical pathology


BACKGROUND: Studies have shown psychological distress in patients with cirrhosis, yet no studies have evaluated the laboratory and physiologic correlates of psychological symptoms in cirrhosis. This study therefore measured both biochemistry data and heart rate variability (HRV) analyses, and aimed to identify the physiologic correlates of depression, anxiety, and poor sleep in cirrhosis. METHODS: A total of 125 patients with cirrhosis and 55 healthy subjects were recruited. Each subject was assessed through routine biochemistry, 5-minutes ECG monitoring, and psychological ratings of depression, anxiety, and sleep. HRV analysis were used to evaluate autonomic functions. The relationship between depression, sleep, and physiologic correlates was assessed using a multiple regression analysis and stepwise method, controlling for age, duration of illness, and severity of cirrhosis. RESULTS: Reduced vagal-related HRV was found in patients with severe liver cirrhosis. Severity of cirrhosis measured by the Child-Pugh score was not correlated with depression or anxiety, and only had a weak correlation with poor sleep. The psychological distress in cirrhosis such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia were correlated specifically to increased levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), increased ratios of low frequency to high frequency power, or reduced nonlinear properties of HRV (alpha1 exponent of detrended fluctuation analysis). CONCLUSIONS: Increased serum AST and abnormal autonomic nervous activities by HRV analysis were associated with psychological distress in cirrhosis. Because AST is an important mediator of inflammatory process, further research is needed to delineate the role of inflammation in the cirrhosis comorbid with depression.

Concepts: Inflammation, Psychology, Regression analysis, Cirrhosis, Liver, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Hepatic encephalopathy


Liver function test (LFT) increase is an early sign of acetaminophen (APAP) toxicity. Typically, when an acute overdose patient is evaluated and has an initial undetectable APAP level and normal liver enzymes, the patient is not treated with N-acetylcysteine, and liver enzymes are not expected to increase later. We report a case of moderate LFT increase despite normal LFTs and an undetectable APAP level after delayed presentation of an APAP ingestion. A 22-year-old male with no medical history ingested 15-25 hydrocodone/APAP tablets (5 mg/500 mg). His suicide note and his bunkmate corroborated the overdose time. He arrived at the emergency department 16 hours after ingestion. At that time, his APAP level was <10 μg/mL, and his liver enzymes were normal [aspartate transaminase (AST) 31 U/L and alanine transaminase (ALT) 34 U/L]. Twenty-nine hours after ingestion, the psychiatry team obtained LFTs (AST 45, ALT 61). He had persistent nausea and diffuse abdominal pain. On repeat analysis, the APAP level at 36 hours was found to be <10 μg/mL, AST 150, and ALT 204. After 2 more days of increasing LFTs and persistent abdominal pain and nausea, the toxicology department was consulted, the patient was transferred to the medicine department, and intravenous N-acetylcysteine was started 66 hours after ingestion. He was treated for 16 hours and had a significant decline in LFTs and symptom resolution. His prothrombin time, bilirubin, lactate, creatinine, and mental status were normal throughout the admission. Other cases of LFT increase were excluded. Our case report illustrates that a moderate increase in liver transaminase may occur despite an initial undetectable APAP level and normal transaminases after a delayed presentation. In our case, no serious clinical effects were reported.

Concepts: Liver, Liver function tests, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Hepatology, Bilirubin, Liver disease, Chemical pathology


Idelalisib, an oral inhibitor of PI3Kδ, was evaluated in a 48-week phase I study (50-350 mg qd or bid) enrolling 40 patients with relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Primary outcome was safety and dose-limiting toxicity (DLT). Secondary outcomes were pharmacokinetic parameters, pharmacodynamic effects, overall response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS), and duration of response (DOR). Patients without DLT and no evidence of disease progression after 48 weeks enrolled in the extension study. Patients had median age of 69 years (52-83) and received median of 4 prior therapies (1-14); 17/40 (43%) were refractory to their most recent treatment. Median duration of idelalisib treatment was 3.5 months (range, 0.7-30.7), with 6 (15%) continuing extension treatment. Common grade ≥3 adverse events (AEs) included (total%/grade ≥3%) diarrhea (40/18), nausea (33/5), pyrexia (28/0), fatigue (25/3), rash (23/3), decreased appetite (20/15), upper respiratory infection (20/0), pneumonia (13/10), and ALT or AST elevations (60/20). Nine (25%) patients discontinued therapy due to AEs. ORR was 16/40 (40%), with CR in 2/40 (5%) patients. Median DOR was 2.7 months, median PFS was 3.7 months, and 1-year PFS was 22%. These data provide proof of concept that targeting PI3Kδ is a viable strategy and worthy of additional study in MCL. This study is registered at, identifier: NCT00710528.

Concepts: Game theory, Cancer, Aspartate transaminase, Fatigue, Pharmacokinetics, Common cold, Mantle cell lymphoma, Pharmacodynamics


The present study investigated the acute, subchronic and genotoxicity of turmeric essential oil (TEO) from Curcuma longa L. Acute administration of TEO was done as single dose up to 5 g of TEO per kg body weight and subchronic toxicity study for thirteen weeks was done by daily oral administration of TEO at doses 0.1, 0.25 and 0.5 g/kg b.wt. in Wistar rats. There were no mortality, adverse clinical signs or changes in body weight; water and food consumption during acute as well as subchronic toxicity studies. Indicators of hepatic function such as aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine amino transferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) were unchanged in treated animals compared to untreated animals. Oral administration of TEO for 13 weeks did not alter total cholesterol, triglycerides, markers of renal function, serum electrolyte parameters and histopathology of tissues. TEO did not produce any mutagenicity to Salmonella typhimurium TA-98, TA-100, TA-102 and TA-1535 with or without metabolic activation. Administration of TEO to rats (1 g/kg b.wt) for 14 days did not produce any chromosome aberration or micronuclei in rat bone marrow cells and did not produce any DNA damage as seen by comet assay confirming the non toxicity of TEO.

Concepts: Bone, Mutation, Bone marrow, Liver function tests, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Mutagen, Curcuma


Background: There are no studies on clinically significant transaminase elevation due to rotavirus gastroenteritis in the literature. Also, there are significant discrepancies among previous studies regarding the prevalence of increased serum transaminase levels in rotavirus infection. Methods: Patients investigated for rotavirus by stool antigen testing, who were followed between January 2005 and May 2012, were retrospectively enrolled in this study. Patients were divided into 2 groups according to their rotavirus results: rotavirus-positive acute gastroenteritis (RPAG) and rotavirus-negative acute gastroenteritis (RNAG) groups. Results: A total of 4317 children who presented with acute gastroenteritis were assessed. The study was completed with 642 patients who met the inclusion criteria. In the RPAG group (n = 272), elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was found in 42 (15.4%) patients and elevated aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in 69 (25.4%), while in the RNAG group (n = 370), these numbers were 25 (6.8%) and 44 (11.9%), respectively. The elevated ALT and AST levels were found to be significantly higher in the RPAG group than in the RNAG group (both p < 0.001). The prevalence of elevated transaminase levels was found to be similar with respect to gastroenteritis severity score (p > 0.05). The high serum transaminase levels normalized uneventfully in all patients in the RPAG and RNAG groups during follow-up. Conclusions: In this study, our results clearly signify a liver influence in rotavirus infections. Therefore, rotavirus infections should be kept in mind when evaluating the aetiology of transaminase elevation in patients with acute gastroenteritis.

Concepts: Liver function tests, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Rotavirus, Diarrhea, Gastroenteritis, Oral rehydration therapy, Elevated transaminases


OBJECTIVE: To describe the clinical signs, treatment, and outcomes of dogs and cats following envenomation by the eastern coral snake and to report our clinical experience with the use of Coralmyn. DESIGN: Retrospective study (1996-2011). SETTING: University teaching hospital. ANIMALS: Sixteen dogs and 4 cats with eastern coral snake envenomation. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Medical records meeting the study inclusion criteria were reviewed and evaluated for signalment, date and time of the snake encounter, elapsed time between encounter and hospital examination, initial physical examination findings, antivenom type, length of hospitalization, and outcome. Initial physical examination findings included: quiet mentation, tetraparesis, ptyalism, tachypnea, abdominal breathing, shallow breathing, decreased to absent gag reflex, ataxia, muscle fasciculations, and decreased spinal reflexes. Laboratory findings in dogs included proteinuria, bilirubinuria, hemeproteinuria, increased aspartate aminotransferase activity, increased alanine aminotransferase activity, and hemolysis. Four dogs and 2 cats received Coralmyn and 4 dogs received North American Coral Snake Antivenom. Adverse reaction to antivenom was suspected in 1 dog that received North American Coral Snake Antivenom. Eight of 11 envenomated dogs survived with a median length of hospitalization of 4.5 days. Two of 3 envenomated cats survived with a median length of hospitalization of 4 days. Two dogs were euthanized, 1 dog suffered acute respiratory arrest, and 1 cat developed tachycardia that progressed to pulseless electrical activity. Five dogs and 1 cat in the encounter group survived to discharge. CONCLUSIONS: Diagnosis of eastern coral snake envenomation is likely in the dog that has concomitant lower motor neuron neuropathy, bulbar palsy, and hemolysis. Early diagnosis is crucial as antivenom administration can reduce morbidity. Prognosis is considered good with 71% of the envenomated patients in this study surviving to discharge. Supportive care that may include ventilator assistance and antivenom administration are the mainstays of therapy.

Concepts: Hospital, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Medical diagnosis, Physical examination, Antivenom, Coral snake, Micrurus fulvius


BACKGROUND: Liver function tests (LFTs) can be affected by many factors and the proposed effects of coffee on LFT require a comprehensive evaluation. The aim of this study was to elucidate whether drinking coffee, smoking, or drinking alcohol have independent effects on LFTs in Korean health-check examinees. METHODS: We used the responses of 500 health-check examinees, who had participated in a self-administered questionnaire survey about coffee, alcohol drinking, and smoking habits. RESULTS: Coffee consumption was closely related to male gender, high body mass index (BMI), alcohol drinking, and smoking. On univariable and multivariable analyses, drinking coffee lowered serum levels of total protein, albumin, and aspartate aminotransferases (AST). On multivariable analyses, smoking raised serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) level and decreased serum protein and albumin levels, while alcohol drinking raised GGT level after adjustment for age, gender, regular medication, BMI, coffee and alcohol drinking amounts, and smoking. CONCLUSIONS: Coffee consumption, smoking, and alcohol drinking affect the individual components of LFT in different ways, and the above 3 habits each have an impact on LFTs. Therefore, their effects on LFTs should be carefully interpreted, and further study on the mechanism of the effects is warranted.

Concepts: Liver, Liver function tests, Aspartate transaminase, Coffee, Body mass index, Alanine transaminase, Albumin, Affect


Hepatic fibrosis (HF) is a chronic disease, which primarily leads to liver unregulated metabolism. In this study, we aimed to investigate the therapeutic effects of puerarin (PR), an active ingredient from kudzu root, on CCl4-induced HF rats. PR effectively ameliorated the liver metabolic function, resulting in reduced serum enzymatic activities of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), total-bilirubin (T-bilirubin), extracellular matrix (ECM) contents and increased levels of albumin, total-protein (T-protein) in HF rats. Similarly, pathological examination showed that the CCl4-lesioned liver was mitigated by PR treatments. Meanwhile, we also detected significantly reduced levels of hydroxyproline (Hyp), type III precollagen (PCIII) and collagen I (Col I) in the liver tissue of HF rats, whereas the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ) expression was effectively increased. Moreover, the expression of tissue inhibitor of metal protease-1 (TIMP-1) was decreased, while the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) was increased. In addition, the expression of p-PI3K and p-Akt was significantly down-regulated by PR treatments. Taken together, PR could attenuate the CCl4-induced toxicity in the hepatocytes of HF rats. It played a protective role in the liver tissue probably through regulating the PPAR-γ expression and blocking the PI3K/Akt pathway to inhibit the excessive deposition of collagen.

Concepts: Metabolism, Extracellular matrix, Liver, Glycogen, Liver function tests, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Enzyme inhibitor