Serum alanine aminotransferase in skeletal muscle diseases

Hepatology. 2005 Feb;41(2):380-2. doi: 10.1002/hep.20548.


Although elevation of the levels of serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) following liver injury is well known, confusion exists concerning skeletal muscle injury as the cause of this rise. We reviewed the records of 16 patients who had muscle necrosis without evidence of liver disease. The patients were divided into three groups: extreme exercise, polymyositis, and seizures. All patients exhibited markedly elevated creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase levels consistent with muscle injury. In acute cases, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and ALT were both elevated, and the AST/ALT ratio was greater than 3, but this ratio approached 1 after a few days because of a faster decline in AST. In conclusion, this difference in half-life accounts for the comparable AST and ALT levels in our cases with chronic muscle injury.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood*
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Chronic Disease
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / enzymology*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Necrosis
  • Polymyositis / enzymology*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Creatine Kinase