Significance of Serum Alpha-Glutathione S-Transferase Assessment in Hepatitis C Patients with Different Alanine Aminotransferase Patterns

Samir M Abdel-Moneim, Hamdy Sliem


Background: Alpha-Glutathione S-transferase (alpha-GST) is a liver enzyme which showed properties making it useful in assessment of liver cell damage. A number of studies demonstrated its early elevation in different hepatic insults, but its pattern in HCV was controversial. Consequently, we planned this work to study the significance of Serum Alpha-Glutathione S-Transferase (alpha-GST) assessment in hepatitis C patients with different alanine aminotransferase (ALT) patterns.

Methods: Sixty-five untreated male patients with history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) positive antibodies and 21 healthy age- and sex-matched control subjects were enrolled in this study. Sera were collected for confirmation of the presence of HCV antibodies (by ELISA) as well as for assessment of the levels of alpha-GST, ALT, aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, gamma glutamyl-transferase, total proteins, albumin and HCV RNA. HCV RNA was detected by the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Based on ALT level, patients were divided into three groups. Twelve patients with normal ALT levels (NALT), 29 with near normal ALT levels (NNALT), and 24 with high ALT levels (HALT). All data were statistically analyzed for significance and correlation as well as sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values.

Results: The mean value of alpha-GST in HCV patients was significantly higher compared to the control with 82% sensitivity, 85% specificity, 98% positive predictive value and 63% negative predictive value. These results were more or less similar to the results of ALT and higher than the results of all the other assayed liver function tests. The sensitivity, and positive and negative predictive values of alpha-GST were lower than aminotransferases, but higher than the other assayed liver function tests in NNALT and HALT groups. Nevertheless, in NALT, these parameters were higher for alpha-GST than all the other assayed liver function tests including aminotransferases.

Conclusions: Assay of alpha-GST has an adjuvant in evaluation of liver cell damage in HCV patients. However, its role is much more valuable in patients with normal aminotransferases for early detection of liver cell damage.

Gastroenterol Res. 2011;4(1):13-19


Hepatitis C; Glutathione transferase

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