What are the uses of enzymes to diagnose a disease?

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What are the uses of enzymes to diagnose a disease?

Enzymes are essential for living organisms to survive. They are made of amino acids, proteins and ribozymes and are present inside the cells. They are responsible for speeding up the chemical reactions in the body. If the enzymes are not working properly, it can lead to diseases in the body.

Enzymes can also be used to detect diseases in the human body. To detect diseases with the use of enzymes, a scientist will look for them in the plasma or serum. If the results are abnormal, for example if plasma levels are higher than normal, it means there may be a disorder in the body of the individual due to a damage to the tissue or cells. Because of the tissue damage, for example because of a heart attack, the enzymes that are normally found inside the muscle cells of the heart can now be found in the blood stream. Scientists need to examine which enzymes can be used to detect specific diseases and develop the tests that will help doctors to make the diagnosis.

To diagnose whether a patient has a disease, the doctor will take some blood in order to look for abnormal amounts of specific enzymes in the blood and then measure the plasma levels of the enzyme. Below is an image illustrating this.

(Figure 1 taken from “Clinical Enzymology”)

Higher levels intracellular enzymes indicate cell damage as enzymes are meant to be inside the cells. If you find them in the plasma that means the cell walls have been damaged. Although if someone has low levels, it could also simply be because of genetics or due to the fact that it is natural change with age.
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But measuring these enzymes is useful in estimating what could be wrong with someone and it helps making an early diagnosis of the disease. This is particularly important for heart and liver diseases.

In this article, I will discuss two plasma enzymes as an example: lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and creatinine phosphokinase (CK).

Lactate dehydrogenase is an enzyme found in body tissues such as the blood cells and the heart muscle. If somebody has hepatitis, an infection of the liver, lactate dehydrogenase is also released from the damaged liver cells into the blood. The normal concentration of ...

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