Serum alanine aminotransferase level in relation to hepatitis B and C virus infections among blood donors


Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical College, 100 Shih-Chuan 1 Rd., Kaohsiung, Taiwan 80708, Republic of China


Abstract: To assess the serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity in relation to hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among blood donors, antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV) and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) were detected in 400 blood donors with normal ALT level (≤750 μmol/s per liter), and 76 blood donors with raised ALT level. The prevalence of anti-HCV (10.5%) and HBsAg (28.9%) in the latter was higher than that (2.0% and 17.5%, respectively) in the former (p<0.001 and p<0.03, respectively). There was a trend that indicated that the risk of anti-HCV positivity increased with increasing age (p<0.001). Thirty of 76 (39.5%) donors with raised ALT level were positive for anti-HCV or HBsAg. Compared with HBsAg-positive donors, donors with anti-HCV had higher serum ALT levels (p<0.01) and greater mean age (p<0.01). Multivariate analysis indicated that both anti-HCV (odds ratio: 6.2; 95% confidence interval: 2.2–17.8) and HBsAg (odds ratio: 2.2; 95% confidence interval: 1.3–3.9) were significantly associated with raised serum ALT activity. The estimated population-attributable risk was 8.6% for anti-HCV, and 13.8% for HBsAg. In conclusion, although HBV and HCV infections are independent risk factors of raised ALT activity among blood donors, they play a minor role in the etiology of raised ALT activity.