(Received 2 March 2003; accepted 24 February 2003)
Published Online: November
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In a postmortem exploratory study, we examined whether specific amino acid abnormalities associated with liver diseases in vivo may also be detected in human brain samples obtained at clinical autopsies. The branched-chain amino acids (BCAA: valine, leucine, isoleucine) were decreased in the group of patients with liver diseases compared with the control group, whereas the aromatic amino acids (AAA: phenylalanine, tyrosine) were increased. However, the ranges overlapped significantly and were not statistically different. The molar ratio BCAA/AAA was determined to be 1.92 in the collection of patients with liver diseases compared with 2.27 in the control group. In patients with liver disease, ornithine concentrations in the brain appeared significantly decreased whereas glutamine was significantly increased. No significant difference was found in the brain concentrations of proline. Amino acid analysis may contribute to the understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms of liver disease, which are discussed, and may supplement the postmortem diagnosis.
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