Liver Blood Tests

What are the aminotransferases?

The aminotransferases catalyze chemical reactions in which an amino group from one amino acid (amino acids are building blocks of proteins) is transferred from a donor molecule to a recipient molecule, hence, the names "aminotransferases."

Medical terms can sometimes be confusing, as is the case with these enzymes because they have interchangeable names that commonly appear in both medical and non-medical articles. For example:

  • Another name for aminotransferase is transaminase.
  • The enzyme aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is also known as serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT).
  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is also known as serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT).

To put matters briefly, AST = SGOT and ALT = SGPT.

Reviewed on 2/2/2014
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