Author(s): Krkkinen P, Poikolainen K, Salaspuro M
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Abstract Beta-hexosaminidase, also called N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase, is a lysosomal glycosidase, which has been found to be increased in the sera of alcoholics admitted to acute detoxification treatment. To study serum beta-hexosaminidase (beta-HEX) as a marker of heavy drinking, it was compared with GGT, ASAT, and ALAT in three study groups: twenty-five drunken arrestees, 16 social drinkers, and 27 teetotallers. Mean serum beta-HEX levels were two times higher among drunken arrestees than among social drinkers or teetotallers. Average daily alcohol intake during the preceding 30 days in the pooled group of drunken arrestees and social drinkers correlated positively (r = 0.69; p less than 0.0001) with serum beta-HEX. The sensitivity of beta-HEX in the detection of heavy drinking, defined as over 60 g ethanol daily, was 85.7\% compared to 47.6\% for GGT. The specificity of beta-HEX was 97.6\%. The positive correlations between beta-HEX and ASAT (r = 0.74; p less than 0.0001) and ALAT (r = 0.41; p less than 0.05) indicate that increased serum beta-HEX level may reflect early liver injury. Serum beta-HEX seems to be a sensitive biological marker of heavy drinking reflecting better the ingested amounts of alcohol than GGT.
This article was published in Alcohol Clin Exp Res
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology