Liver Aspartate Transaminase Isoenzymes as Biomarkers of Chronic Exposure to Chromium(VI)

Open access

Abstract

Exposure to hexavalent chromium compounds is associated with the risk of lung cancer, dermatitis, gastrointestinal ulcers, and other tissue damages. The aim of this study was to compare liver isoenzyme and total serum activities of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) as cytotoxic biomarkers of acute and chronic cytotoxicity of CrVI. We investigated the extent of cell damage caused by chromium(VI) in acute (2.5 mg kg-1) daily doses administered over five days and chronic (0.25 mg kg-1 and 0.5 mg kg-1) daily doses administered over 15 to 60 days by measuring total AST in serum and low molecular weight AST (LMW-AST) and high molecular weight AST (HMW-AST) activities in thirty liver fractions. We also evaluated the kinetic properties and electrophoretic mobility of the LMW- and HMW-AST isoenzymes in liver subcellular fractions. Liver LMW-AST and total serum AST activities significantly decreased after 15 days of exposure (P<0.05). With continued treatment, AST activity increased by 15.67 % (P<0.05). Interestingly, changes in serum AST activity were similar to changes in the liver LMW-AST isoenzyme. Our results confirmed that total serum AST activity may serve as a reliable tissue biomarker for long-term exposures to CrVI, but they also suggest that the LMW-AST isoenzyme could be even more sensitive.

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