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Scientists in Michigan have developed a new, highly sensitive liver function test. The test is based on measurement of the enzyme guanase in the serum.
Normally, only negligible amounts of guanase can be found in the blood, according to the investigators: E. M. Knights, MD; J. L. Whitehouse; and C. M. Kopp, MD, Providence Hospital, Detroit; and A. C. Hue, PhD, the Ames Company, Elkhart, Ind.
Guanase participates in purine metabolism and is present in high concentrations in the liver. It is also encountered in the kidneys and the brain, but since these organs are not usually involved in the differential diagnosis of liver disease, in these conditions increased enzyme level is quite specific for hepatocellular damage.
Measuring guanase levels also indicates whether liver disease is of viral origin or results from obstructive jaundice due to external causes. In viral hepatitis or homologous serum jaundice the serum enzyme levels are
Tests, Techniques Evaluated At Meeting of Ophthalmologists. JAMA. 1964;190(6):41–43. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070190103054