Hyperprolinemia and lactatemia in alcoholic liver disease: Relationships to abstinence and histological findings



It has not yet been established whether serum proline and blood lactate levels are increased in alcoholic liver disease. We measured serum proline and blood lactate in controls and in patients with different stages of alcoholic liver disease in the absence of hepatic failure. Samplings were done in both abstinent and drinking alcoholics. Compared to controls, there was a striking increase in serum proline levels in 52 abstinent alcoholics with little or no hepatic fibrosis by histological assessment (0.10 ± 0.01 vs. 0.155 ± 0.008; p < 0.005). Blood lactate levels were within the normal range and did not correlate with serum proline levels. On the other hand, serum proline and blood lactate levels were independent of hepatic necrosis and inflammation scores. In addition, in 10 patients with blood alcohol concentrations between 0.3 mg/ml and 7.8 mg/ml, serum lactate and proline were significantly elevated (2.42 ± 0.29 mg/ml and 0.275 ± 0.0026 mg/ml, respectively; p < 0.005). These results show that there is an association between serum proline levels and the abstinence period in alcoholic patients. They further suggest that in alcoholic patients neither serum proline nor blood lactate concentrations are reliable markers for liver histological activity (necrosis and Inflammation) or fibrosis.