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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

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Salivary aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase: possible markers in periodontal diseases?

Alexandra Totan
  • Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Dental Medicine, University of Medicine “Carol Davila”, Bucharest, Romania
/ Maria Greabu
  • Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Dental Medicine, University of Medicine “Carol Davila”, Bucharest, Romania
/ Cosmin Totan
  • Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dental Medicine, University of Medicine “Carol Davila”, Bucharest, Romania
/ Tudor Spinu
  • Department of Prosthetics, Faculty of Dental Medicine, University of Medicine “Carol Davila”, Bucharest, Romania
Published Online: 2006-05-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2006.096


Background: Saliva can be used as a diagnostic fluid in medicine. Components of saliva proposed as disease markers include enzymes (alkaline phosphatase, esterase, glucuronidase, aminopeptidase), immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG), and hormones (steroid hormones). Many of these salivary components appeared to be useful biochemical markers of the evolution of periodontal disease, for which salivary analysis can offer a cost-effective approach for monitoring the disease. The salivary components proposed as markers for periodontal disease activity are aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aminopeptidases, and glucuronidases. The purpose of our study was to illustrate the influence of periodontal disease on the level of salivary AST, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and ALP.

Methods: All clinical periodontal examinations were performed by the same periodontist. All patients included in the study presented a probing depth >5 mm, bleeding on probing and alveolar bone loss >40%. Salivary AST, ALT and ALP activities were measured using DiaSys analysis kits from Diagnostic Systems. The methods were adapted for saliva.

Results: Salivary AST activity in patients with periodontal disease was significantly increased (p<0.01) (median 81.75±23 U/L) compared with controls (15.25±10.5 U/L). Salivary ALT activity was not significantly modified in saliva from patients with periodontal disease compared with the control group. Our results showed a significant (p<0.01) increase in salivary ALP activity (34.38±1.5 U/L) in patients with periodontal disease compared with controls (6.6±4.2 U/L).

Conclusions: Our results revealed that periodontal destruction such as periodontal pockets, gingival bleeding and suppuration are related to higher ALP and AST levels in saliva. Salivary AST could be used as a useful marker for monitoring periodontal disease. The increase in salivary ALP activity in periodontitis demonstrated could be associated with alveolar bone loss, a key feature of periodontal disease. More studies are necessary to evaluate which specific clinical, microbiological and histological characteristics of periodontal disease are associated with elevated levels of AST and ALP in saliva.

Keywords: alanine aminotransferase; alkaline phosphatase; aspartate aminotransferase; periodontitis; saliva

Corresponding author: Alexandra Totan, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Dental Medicine, University of Medicine “Carol Davila”, 8 Blvd Eroilor Sanitari, sect. 5, Bucharest, Romania Phone: +40-722396324,

Received: November 1, 2005

Accepted: February 6, 2006

Published Online: 2006-05-08

Published in Print: 2006-05-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemical Laboratory Medicine. Volume 44, Issue 5, Pages 612–615, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2006.096, May 2006

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