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Role of liver parameters in diabetes mellitus – a narrative review



Diabetes mellitus is characterized by hyperglycemia and abnormalities in insulin secretion and function. This review article focuses on various liver parameters, including albumin, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alpha fetoprotein (AFP), alpha 1 antitrypsin (AAT), ammonia, bilirubin, bile acid, gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), immunoglobulin, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and total protein. These parameters play significant roles in the development of different types of diabetes such as type 1 diabetes (T1DM), type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and gestational diabetes (GDM). The article highlights that low albumin levels may indicate inflammation, while increased ALT and AST levels are associated with liver inflammation or injury, particularly in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Elevated ALP levels can be influenced by liver inflammation, biliary dysfunction, or bone metabolism changes. High bilirubin levels are independently linked to albuminuria in T1DM and an increased risk of T2DM. Elevated GGT levels are proposed as markers of oxidative stress and liver dysfunction in T2DM. In GDM, decreased serum AFP levels may indicate impaired embryo growth. Decreased AFP levels in T2DM can hinder the detection of hepatocellular carcinoma. Hyperammonemia can cause encephalopathy in diabetic ketoacidosis, and children with T1DM and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often exhibit higher ammonia levels. T2DM disrupts the regulation of nitrogen-related metabolites, leading to increased blood ammonia levels. Bile acids affect glucose regulation by activating receptors on cell surfaces and nuclei, and changes in bile acid metabolism are observed in T2DM. Increased LDH activity reflects metabolic disturbances in glucose utilization and lactate production, contributing to diabetic complications. Poor glycemic management may be associated with elevated levels of IgA and IgG serum antibodies, and increased immunoglobulin levels are also associated with T2DM.