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Indian J Clin Biochem. 2010 Jan;25(1):37-42. doi: 10.1007/s12291-010-0007-0. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Role of plasma amino acids and gaba in alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease-a pilot study.

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Department of Biochemistry, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Elamakkara P.O., Cochin, 682 026 Kerala India.


Alcohol appears to affect brain function, primarily by interfering with the action of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and other neurotransmitters. As alcohol is mainly metabolized in the liver, therefore we undertook this pilot study to monitor the patterns of changes in plasma amino-acid concentrations due to alcoholic and nonalcohol fatty liver disease and their relation with plasma GABA level. Plasma amino-acid concentrations were measured in 25 alcoholic liver disease (ALD) patients, 18 non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients, and 24 age and sex matched control subjects by HPLC. GABA concentration was elevated, while isoleucine and leucine levels reduced significantly in ALD patients compared to the control subjects. Methionine and phenylalanine levels elevated and valine content reduced significantly in ALD patients compared to other two groups, and GABA level was significantly correlated with methionine and phenylalanine. Plasma concentration of lysine was significantly reduced in both groups of liver disease patients compared to the control group, but was not correlated with GABA level. Glycine and tyrosine levels reduced significantly in NAFLD patients compared to other two groups and were significantly correlated with GABA. Interestingly, though amino acids such as alanine, histidine, proline and serine were not affected by liver diseases, but were significantly correlated with GABA level. This pilot study indicated that alcoholic liver disease presented a more deranged plasma amino acid pattern than nonalcoholic, and the amino acid imbalances. More studies are necessary to identify the role of any particular amino acid on brain function and on neurotransmitter(s).


Alcohol; Amino acids; Gamma aminobutyric acid; Liver; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease


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