Purpose Aspartate Transaminase (AST) Test

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Aspartate transaminase (AST) or aspartate aminotransferase, also known as AspAT/ASAT/AAT or serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT), is a pyridoxal phosphate (PLP)-dependent transaminase enzyme which catalyzes the reversible transfer of an α-amino group between aspartate and glutamate.It an important enzyme in amino acid metabolism.This enzyme is  found and concentrated in tissues with high metabolic activities such as the liver, heart, kidneys, skeletal muscle,brain, red blood cells and to a lower extend in the kidney and pancreas.

The combination of serum AST level and serum ALT (alanine transaminase) level including their ratio (AST/ALT ratio) which are both enzymes associated with liver parenchymal cells are commonly measured clinically as biomarkers for hepatic or liver diseases (Liver function Test) especially when there is an inflammation or injury affecting the cells of those tissues which result to a lyse of the cells releasing the enzyme AST which is picked up by the blood resulting in an increase in it serum level.

Indication of AST test

AST test is used in the evaluation of clients suspected  with hepatocellular diseases

Purpose of AST test

This test is used to detect diseases such as acute hepatitis, gallstones, cirrhosis, liver congestion, metastatic tumour of the liver, infectious mononucleosis, acute pancreatitis, acute renal disease, musculoskeletal diseases or trauma.

Sign and Symptoms related to AST

  • Yellow skin or eyes,condition term jaundice
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Swollen belly
  • Stomach pain
  • Appetite loss
  • Tiredness
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Light-colored poop
  • Swelling in your legs and ankles
  • Bruises

Factors that can affect the level of AST

The following factors can affect the level of AST during testing

  • Pregnancy: This can cause decreased AST levels.
  • Exercise:  This may increase AST levels.
  • Also some drugs may cause increases in AST like  antihypertensives, cholinergic agents, anticoagulants, contraceptives, opiates, and statins).
Also read  Clinical significance of some hormones and their Functions

Result and clinical Significance of AST

Lower levelHigher level
Acute renal diseaseLiver diseases such as hepatitis, hepatic cirrhosis, drug-induced liver injury, hepatic metastasis, mononucleosis
BeriberiSkeletal muscle diseases such as muscle trauma, surgery, burns, muscular dystrophy, heat stroke
Diabetic ketoacidosisOther diseases such as acute hemolytic anemia and acute pancreatitis
Pregnancy alcohol abuse
Chronic renal dialysisxx

Reference Range of AST

Male8–40 IU/L
Female 6–34 IU/L

Note Adapted from Pagana, K. D., and T. J. Pagana. Mosby’s Canadian Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests. 1st ed. Toronto, ON: Elsevier Canada, 2013.

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About the Author: Arthur Westmann

DEFFE ARTHUR (AMOEBAMANN) is the founder and author of MLTGEEKS and MLTEXPO.He’s from Cameroon and is currently a Final year State Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT MA). Beyond lab works, he’s a passionate internet user with a keen interest in web design and blogging. Furthermore He likes traveling, hanging around with friends and social networking to do in his spare time.

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