Comparison of L-FABP, ALT and AST levels in chronic hepatitis c
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Purpose: To determine the plasma level of liver- type fatty acid binding protein (L-FABP) in chronic hepatitis C (CHC), and to compare this to Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) and Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) levels. Methods: We tested 38 biopsy-proven CHC patients and 33 age- and sex- matched healthy controls in whom biopsy was not performed for ethical considerations. Patients with persistently elevated plasma aminotransferase levels (ALT and/or AST), and positive anti-HCV antibody and HCV-RNA results were included, but not those with liver cirrhosis, chronic alcohol consumption, severe and/or acute cardiac, renal, cerebrovascular or intestinal disease, seropositive for Hepatitis B virus or HIV. In addition to routine biochemical assessment, L-FABP was determined using a solid phase specific sandwich ELISA. Results: Plasma ALT and AST level were significantly higher in the patient group than in the control group (57.7±27.9 IU/L vs 19.0± 7.7 IU/L, p<0.01 and 44.5±19.2 IU/L vs 18.3± 4.2 IU/L, p<0.01, respectively). Plasma L-FABP was significantly higher in the patient group than in the control group (5480.3± 4387.8 ng/mL vs 1710.5± 911.6 ng/mL, p<0.01). No correlation was found between L-FABP and either of the enzyme levels. ROC analysis produced cut-off values above which the likelihood of CHC increased. The cut-off value was 27.5 IU/L for ALT and 23.5 IU/L for AST. The cut-off value for L-FABP was 2600 ng/mL. Conclusion: L-FABP is elevated significantly in CHC when compared to healthy controls, independent of aminotranferase levels. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the potential use of L-FABP in the setting of CHC. Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.