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High transaminase concentration - Definition


A transaminase is an enzyme found in great numbers in the body, more specifically in the muscles and liver. The two primary types of transaminases are AST, or aspartate transaminase, and ALT, or alanine transaminase, also called alanine aminotransferase, depending on the laboratory. The concentration of these enzymes can be assessed using blood sample tests, and when they are increased it is indication of abnormally excessive enzyme liberation by the cells of the organs that contain them. The primary cause for increased concentration in both is liver cytolysis, the destruction of liver cells, caused by certain diseases affecting this organ, notably hepatitis and cirrhosis. When one increases alone, another organ can be suspected as being damaged, such as the heart when AST alone is increased.