Liver Blood Tests

Liver...The Largest Gland in the Body!

Medical Author: Leslie J. Schoenfield, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, M.D.

The liver is the largest solid organ in the body. I think a lot of people probably know that. But they may not know that it is also the largest gland in the body. You see, the liver is also considered a gland because, among its various functions, it makes and secretes bile. (Just for your reference, the stomach and intestine are large hollow organs. Glands are organs or parts of organs that make and secrete substances. And bile is a fluid that both aids in digestion and transports fats as well as waste products into the intestine.)

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.

2/15
Reviewed on 2/2/2014
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