To evaluate the clinical applications of serum thymidine kinase (TK) activity, we compared the results obtained with this parameter with those of other liver function tests in 27 patients with acute viral hepatitis and 16 normal controls. In those in the acute stage, the serum TK activity increased significantly to 55.5 ± 66.5 U/L. There was no significant correlation between serum TK activity and findings for serum albumin, bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase or r-glutamyle transpeptidase. However, it did correlate significantly well with the serum activity of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (r=0.621, P<0.01), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (r=0.551, P<0.01), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) (r=0.620, P<0.01). Serum TK activity reached higher than 70 U/L in 8 of 11 patients with hepatitis A; however, no patients with the other types of hepatitis reached such a high level. During the recovery stage, the serum TK activity decreased significantly to 5.9± 1.7 U/L (P<0.01), and did not correlate with AST, ALT, LDH or other conventional liver function parameters. The data suggest that an elevation of serum TK in patients with acute viral hepatitis results from hepatocellular damage. A marked elevation of serum TK activity may thus provide a marker for acute hepatitis A infection.
acute hepatitis serum thymidine kinase
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