Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 37–42 | Cite as

Role of plasma amino acids and gaba in alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease-a pilot study

  • S. Mukherjee
  • K. Vaidyanathan
  • D. M. Vasudevan
  • Subir Kumar DasEmail author
Original Article


Alcohol appears to affect brain function, primarily by interfering with the action of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and other neurotransmitters. As alcohol is mainly metabolized in the liver, therefore we undertook this pilot study to monitor the patterns of changes in plasma amino-acid concentrations due to alcoholic and nonalcohol fatty liver disease and their relation with plasma GABA level. Plasma amino-acid concentrations were measured in 25 alcoholic liver disease (ALD) patients, 18 non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients, and 24 age and sex matched control subjects by HPLC. GABA concentration was elevated, while isoleucine and leucine levels reduced significantly in ALD patients compared to the control subjects. Methionine and phenylalanine levels elevated and valine content reduced significantly in ALD patients compared to other two groups, and GABA level was significantly correlated with methionine and phenylalanine. Plasma concentration of lysine was significantly reduced in both groups of liver disease patients compared to the control group, but was not correlated with GABA level. Glycine and tyrosine levels reduced significantly in NAFLD patients compared to other two groups and were significantly correlated with GABA. Interestingly, though amino acids such as alanine, histidine, proline and serine were not affected by liver diseases, but were significantly correlated with GABA level. This pilot study indicated that alcoholic liver disease presented a more deranged plasma amino acid pattern than nonalcoholic, and the amino acid imbalances. More studies are necessary to identify the role of any particular amino acid on brain function and on neurotransmitter(s).

Key Words

Alcohol Amino acids Gamma aminobutyric acid Liver Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Das SK, Balakrishnan V, Vasudevan DM. Alcohol: Its health and social impact in India. Natl Med J India 2006; 19(2): 94–99.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Oscar-Berman M, Shagrin B, Evert DL, Epstein C. Impairments of brain and behavior: the neurological effects of alcohol. Alcohol Health Res World 1997; 21(1): 65–75.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mukherjee S, Das SK, Vaidyanthan K, Vasudevan DM. Consequences of alcohol consumption on neurotransmitters: an overview. Curr Neurovascular Res 2008; 5(4): 266–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Das SK, Vasudevan DM. Alcohol induced oxidative stress. Life Sciences 2007; 81(3): 177–187.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Das SK, Balakrishnan V, Mukherjee S, Vasudevan DM. Evaluation of blood oxidative stress related parameters in alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Scand J Clin Lab Invest 2008; 68(4): 323–334.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wu C, Bollman JL, Butt HR. Changes in free amino acids in the plasma during hepatic coma. J Clin Invest 1955; 34: 845–849.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Iber FL, Rosen H, Levenson SM, Chalmers TC. The plasma amino acids in patients with liver failure. J Lab Clin Med 1957; 50: 417–425.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Levine RJ, Conn HO. Tyrosine metabolism in patients with liver disease. J Clin Invest 1967; 42: 2012–2020.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ning M, Lowenstein LM, Davidson CS. Serum amino acid concentrations in alcoholic hepatitis. J Lab Clin Med 1967; 70: 554–562.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mata JM, Kershenobich D, Villarreal E. Rojkind M. Serum free proline and free hydroxyproline in patients with chronic liver disease. Gastroenterol 1975; 68: 1265–1269.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Armstrong MD, Stave U. A study of plasma free amino acid levels. III. Variation during growth and ageing. Metabolism 1973; 22: 571–578.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Milsom JP, Morgan MY, Sherlock S. Factors affecting plasma amino acid concentrations in control subjects. Metabolism 1979; 28: 313–319.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Christensen HN. In: Biological Transport, 2nd ed. Reading, Massachusetts: W A Benjamin, Inc. 1975.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Morgan MY, Marshall AW, Milsom JP, Sherlock S. Plasma aminoacid patterns in liver disease. Gut 1982; 23: 362–370.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hagenfeldt L, Arvidsson A. The distribution of amino acids between plasma and erythrocytes. Clin Chim Acta 1980; 100: 133–141.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Krystal JH, Staley J, Mason G, Petrakis IL, Kaufman J, Harris RA, Gelernter J, Lappalainen A. Gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptors and alcoholism: intoxication, dependence, vulnerability, and treatment. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2006; 63: 957–968.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kretz FJ, Loscher W, Dillinger U. The blood level of gammaaminobutyric acid in patients with liver cirrhosis and portacaval anastomosis. Anaesthesiol Reanim 1991; 16(3): 169–174.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Joelsson B, Hultberg B, Alwmark A, Gullstrand P, Bengmark S. Pattern of serum amino acids in patients with liver cirrhosis. Influence of shunt surgery and transesophageal sclerotherapy. Scand J Gastroenterol 1984; 19(4): 547–551.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Vargas-Tank L, Wolff C, Castillo T, Carrión Y, Hoppe A, Martínez V, Arman-Merino R. Serum proline and blood lactate levels in alcoholic patients without hepatic failure: relationship with alcohol ingestion and histological activity. Liver 1988; 8(1): 58–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Nakajima T, Sato A, Murayama N. [Metabolic abnormalities of amino acids in patients with alcoholic liver damage] Nippon Rinsho 1992; 50(7): 1609–1613.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Shaw S, Worner TM, Lieber CS. Frequency of hyperprolinemia in alcoholic liver cirrhosis: relationship to blood lactate. Hepatol 1984; 4(2): 295–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Shiota T, Nakatsukasa H, Fujiwara M, Takei N, Yamauchi Y, Kobayashi M, Watanabe A, Nagashima H. Plasma amino acid imbalance in alcoholic liver cirrhosis. Biochem Med 1984; 32(2): 181–188.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Vannucchi H, Marchini JS, Padovan GJ, dos-Santos JE, Dutra-de-Oliveira JE. Amino acid patterns in the plasma and ascitic fluid of cirrhotic patients. Braz J Med Biol Res 1985; 18(4): 465–470.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kwon do Y, Jung YS, Kim SJ, Park HK, Park JH, Kim YC. Impaired sulfur-amino acid metabolism and oxidative stress in nonalcoholic fatty liver are alleviated by betaine supplementation in rats. J Nutr 2009; 139(1): 63–68.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kharbanda KK. Alcoholic liver disease and methionine metabolism. Semin Liver Dis 2009; 29(2): 155–165.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Yang HT, Chen YH, Chiu WC, Huang SY. Effects of consecutive high-dose alcohol administration on the utilization of sulfur-containing amino acids by rats. J Nutr Biochem 2006; 17(1): 45–50.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Lepage N, McDonald N, Dallaire L, Lambert M. Age-specific distribution of plasma amino acid concentrations in a healthy pediatric population. Clin Chem 1997; 43: 2397–2402.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Larter CZ, Yeh MM. Animal models of NASH: getting both pathology and metabolic context right. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2008; 23(11): 1635–1648.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Bianchi G, Marchesini G, Brunetti N, Manicardi E, Montuschi F, Chianese R, Zoli M. Impaired insulin-mediated amino acid plasma disappearance in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a feature of insulin resistance. Dig Liver Dis 2003; 35(10): 722–777.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Clinical Biochemists of India 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Mukherjee
    • 1
  • K. Vaidyanathan
    • 1
  • D. M. Vasudevan
    • 1
  • Subir Kumar Das
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryAmrita Institute of Medical SciencesCochinIndia
  2. 2.Agartala Govt Medical CollegeAgartalaIndia

Personalised recommendations