Alanine transaminase or ALT is (mostly) a liver enzyme. The spillover
of this enzyme into blood is routinely measured as a marker of
liver-cell damage. This helps distinguish liver disease caused by
liver-cell damage from diseases caused by problems in biliary ducts.
ALT is markedly raised in hepatitis and other acute liver damage. The enzyme aspartate transaminase (AST) has a similar role, but this enzyme tends to be found in other tissues, such as the heart, so is not as specific to the liver.
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