Stability of serum alanine aminotransferase activity

Transfusion. Sep-Oct 1987;27(5):431-3. doi: 10.1046/j.1537-2995.1987.27587320539.x.


In this study the authors examine the effects of common storage and handling procedures on serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels. Clotted blood samples from 14 subjects were centrifuged at 280 X g for 10 minutes. Serum was tested immediately for baseline ALT levels and aliquots were stored at 22, 4, -20, and -80 degrees C. Additional serums were stored on the clot at 22 and 4 degrees C. ALT quantitation was performed at intervals of 3, 6, 9, and 24 hours and on Days 2, 4, 6, and 8. Unseparated tubes were sampled both proximal and distal to the red cells to determine ALT leakage from red cells lysis. For all storage conditions, gradual loss of activity occurred over time. Mean activity loss in separated serum at 2 days was 6 percent at 4 degrees C and 20 percent at 22 degrees C. Mean loss in unseparated serum was 3 percent at 4 degrees C and 12 percent at 22 degrees C. Marked ALT loss averaging 46 percent by day 6 occurred with storage at -20 degrees C, whereas storage at -80 degrees C resulted in an 8 percent decrease for the same period. For storage of up to 1 week, it is recommended that serum be separated early and retained at 4 degrees C. Frozen samples should be kept at -80 degrees C. Storage of separated or unseparated blood for up to 24 hours at 22 or 4 degrees C, as commonly found in blood centers, will marginally adversely affect the accuracy of ALT determination.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine Transaminase / blood*
  • Blood Preservation
  • Drug Stability
  • Hematologic Tests
  • Humans
  • Specimen Handling
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Alanine Transaminase