Assessment of Alpha Fetoprotein Levels and Gamma Glutamyl Transferase Activity in Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Seropositive Subjects in Nnewi, Nigeria

Rebecca C. Chukwuanukwu, Patrick O. Manafa, Nweke J.O, Charles C. Onyenekwe, Augustine C. Ihim, Nkiruka R. Ukibe, George O. Chukwuma, Emmanuel U. Iloghalu


Hepatitis B and hepatitis C viral infections are the leading cause of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. These conditions, which mar the hepatic functional integrity, are characterized by alterations in the liver function markers such as alpha fetoprotein (AFP) and gamma glutamyl tranferase (GGT). In the present study, a total of 90 subjects were recruited. Out of this number, 30 were hepatitis B seropositive subjects, 30 hepatitis C seropositive individuals and the remaining 30 were apparently healthy individuals. The last group served as the control. Serum alpha fetoprotein levels were estimated by the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) technique and the method adopted for the determination of gamma glutamyl transferase activity was the kinetic-spectrophotometric procedure. The mean serum level of alpha fetoprotein was significantly higher in hepatitis B seropositive subjects compared with the control (P<0.05). The same pattern was observed when the mean serum activity of GGT of the hepatitis B seropositive subjects was compared with that of the control (P<0.05). Furthermore, the mean serum level of AFP and the mean serum GGT activity were significantly higher in hepatitis C seropositive individuals compared with the control (P<0.05). In contrast, no significant difference was observed in the mean serum levels of alpha fetoprotein in hepatitis B seropositive individuals compared with that of hepatitis C seropositive subjects (P>0.05). A positive correlation existed between AFP levels and GGT activity in hepatitis B seropositive subjects (r=0.31) and between AFP levels and GGT activity in hepatitis C seropositive subjects (r=0.25). These findings suggest that evaluation of serum alpha fetoprotein levels and gamma glutamyl transferase activity may be a valuable adjunct in the assessment of disease progression in hepatitis B and hepatitis C seropositive individuals.

Keywords: Hepatitis, alpha fetoprotein, glatamyl transferase, disease progression.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-7181 ISSN (Online)2225-062X

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