Analysis of ALT and AST levels in HCV infected patients

Sadia Amjad, Ayesha Akram, Mudassar Iqbal, Manzoor Hussain, Mirwais Khan


Background: Hepatitis C infection is spreading worldwide at an alarming rate and Pakistan is the second largest country to be infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Abnormal levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) has been reported to be associated with hepatitis C infection and HCV associated pathologies.

Methods: The serum of study participants was isolated and analyzed for confirmed HCV infection and HCV RNA was extracted by QIAamp DSP Virus Kit followed by quantification by real time PCR. For the measurement of ALT and AST analysis, aspartate aminotransferase activity assay kit and alanine aminotransferase activity assay kit of Sigma Aldrich were used.

Results: Gender-wise analysis showed that 58% females while 42% males were HCV infected. Participants’ age ranged between ≥15 to ≤75 years. A confirmatory test of HCV infection by real time PCR showed 63% positive while 37% participants to be negative for HCV infection. An age-wise comparison of AST and ALT level showed a higher level of ALT in all age groups of HCV patients with significant higher level in 21-60 years of males and 61—80 years of female. The gender-wise comparison of these enzyme level showed higher level of ALT and AST in females as compared to males. The correlation analysis showed a positive association between viral load and AST/ALT level.

Conclusion: Though irregular levels have been reported in HCV patients previously but this gender-based study shows an increased level of both the enzymes in females as compared to males. Moreover, ALT have increased levels in HCV patients as compared to AST indicating ALT to be more specific biomarker of HCV infection and liver damage.

Keywords: HCV; ALT; AST; Hepatitis C; CHC; Virus 

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