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They include aspartate aminotransferase (AST or SGOT) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT or SGPT).These enzymes are normally predominantly contained within liver cells and to a lesser degree in the muscle cells.For example, individuals with acute viral hepatitis A may develop very high AST and ALT levels (sometimes in the thousands of units/liter range), but most people with acute viral hepatitis A recover fully without residual liver disease.
It is released into the bloodstream as the result of liver injury.
In addition to AST and ALT, alkaline phosphatase, 5' nucleotidase, and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) are a few of the other enzymes located in the liver.
The focus of this article is mainly on the most common liver enzymes, AST and ALT. It makes many of the chemicals required by the body to function normally, it breaks down and detoxifies substances in the body, and it also acts as a storage unit.
It is important to clarify that ALT and AST levels do not reflect the function of the liver, even though in the medical community and in medical publications they commonly, and incorrectly, are referred to as liver function tests.
Even in conditions when AST and ALT are very elevated, the liver still may function properly.