The American Journal of Digestive Diseases

, Volume 8, Issue 10, pp 789–797 | Cite as

Clinical interpretation of serum β-glucuronidase activity

  • Alexander M. Rutenburg
  • Esteban P. Pineda
  • Benjamin M. Banks
  • Julius A. Goldbarg


1. Serum β-glucuronidase activity was assayed in 1134 patients with hepatobiliary or pancreatic diseases.

2. This test proved to be the most sensitive for the detection of mild to moderate cirrhosis in theanicteric patient. Conversely, the presence of this disease is unlikely if the serum β-glucuronidase is normal. Consequently, the β-glucuronidase assay is a valuable screening test for this disease.

3. Increased serum β-glucuronidase activity was as sensitive as index of hepatic dysfunction in patients with acute hepatitis or drug-induced jaundice as the serum glutamic oxalacetic transaminase test and was more sensitive than the other hepatic tests commonly employed in the confirmation of these diseases. Furthermore, serial assays were of value in assessing the clinical course of the disease.

4. The serum β-glucuronidase test is relatively nonspecific, since elevations were observed in a variety of diseases affecting the liver as well as during pregnancy and after the administration of estrogens. The considerable overlap of values in obstructive and primary hepatic jaundice renders the β-glucuronidase test of limited value in the differential diagnoisis of jaundice.

5. The pathophysiologic alterations underlying variations of serum β-glucuronidase activity in hepatobiliary disease are discussed.


Public Health Hepatitis Estrogen Screening Test Acute Hepatitis 
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Copyright information

© Hoeber Medical Division of Harper & Row, Publishers, Incorporated 1963

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander M. Rutenburg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Esteban P. Pineda
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Benjamin M. Banks
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Julius A. Goldbarg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.From the Yamins Laboratory for Surgical ResearchBeth Israel HospitalUSA
  2. 2.the Departments of SurgeryBeth Israel HospitalUSA
  3. 3.Harvard Medical SchoolBoston

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