Lab Med Online.  2017 Jul;7(3):128-134. 10.3343/lmo.2017.7.3.128.

Effects of Pyridoxal-5'-Phosphate on Aminotransferase Activity Assay

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 4Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, Shinhan University, Uijeongbu, Korea.


Pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (P5P), a coenzyme of the aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) reactions, is required to measure aminotransferase levels (IFCC method). However, a modified IFCC method that uses a reagent devoid of P5P is commonly used in laboratories in Korea. To determine the differences between the two methods, we compared aminotransferase levels measured by using the IFCC method and modified IFCC method.
Serum levels of AST and ALT, with and without P5P, were measured in 2,318 patients. Based on the allowable limits of performance set by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA), differences between the two methods were analyzed under various conditions.
Higher AST and ALT values were obtained by the IFCC method compared to modified IFCC method, showing significant differences between the two methods (AST, 5.8±14.2 IU/L; ALT, 2.8±6.9 IU/L) (P<0.001). Values exceeding RCPA criteria were more frequently observed in emergency orders (AST, 65.8%; ALT, 14.4%) than in routine orders (AST, 3.2%; ALT, 9.6%), as well as in inpatient wards (AST, 70.4%; ALT, 18.5%) compared to outpatient clinics (AST, 56.6%; ALT, 10.0%). However, the differences between the two methods were not significant among the disease groups, except for the acute myocardial infarction group.
The method using reagents without P5P underestimated aminotransferase activity. The effect of P5P was more significant in patients with acute myocardial infarction, considered as P5P-deficient. In conclusion, the IFCC method with P5P should be applied for measuring AST and ALT serum levels.


Liver function tests; Alanine aminotransferases; Aspartate aminotransferases; Pyridoxal phosphate
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