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  • Alkaline phosphatase


    Alkaline phosphatase (ALP, ALKP, ALPase, Alk Phos) () or basic phosphatase is a homodimeric protein enzyme of 86 kilodaltons. Each monomer contains five cysteine residues, two zinc atoms, and one magnesium atom crucial to its catalytic function, and it is optimally active at alkaline pH environments. ALP has the physiological role of dephosphorylating compounds. The enzyme is found across a multitude of organisms, prokaryotes and eukaryotes alike, with the same general function but in different structural forms suitable to the environment they function in. Alkaline phosphatase is found in the periplasmic space of E. coli bacteria. This enzyme is heat stable and has its maximum activity at high pH. In humans, it is found in many forms depending on its origin within the body – it plays an integral role in metabolism within the liver and development within the skeleton. Due to its widespread prevalence in these areas, its concentration in the bloodstream is used by diagnosticians as a biomarker in helping determine diagnoses such as hepatitis or osteomalacia. The level of alkaline phosphatase in the blood is checked through the ALP test, which is often part of routine blood tests. The levels of this enzyme in the blood depend on factors such as age, gender, blood type. Blood levels of alkaline phosphatase also increase two to four times during pregnancy. This is a result of additional alkaline phosphatase produced by the placenta. Additionally, abnormal levels of alkaline phosphatase in the blood could indicate issues relating to the liver, gall bladder or bones. Kidney tumors, infections as well as malnutrition has also shown abnormal level of alkaline phosphatase in blood. Alkaline phosphatase levels in a cell can be measured through a process called "The scoring method". "The scoring method" is a technique used where a sample of the enzyme is extracted from the inside of blood cells and is analyzed and compared for varying enzyme activity. A blood smear is usually taken and undergoes differential centrifugation to isolate leukocytes and staining to categorize each leukocyte into specific “leukocyte alkaline phosphatase indices.” This marker is designed to distinguish leukocytes and determine different enzyme activity from each sample's extent of staining.

  • Elevated alkaline phosphatase


    Elevated alkaline phosphatase occurs when levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) exceed the reference range. This group of enzymes has a low substrate specificity and catalyzes the hydrolysis of phosphate esters in a basic environment. The major function of alkaline phosphatase is transporting across cell membranes. Alkaline phosphatases are present in many human tissues, including bone, intestine, kidney, liver, placenta and white blood cells. Damage to these tissues causes the release of ALP into the bloodstream. Elevated levels can be detected through a blood test. Elevated alkaline phosphate is associated with certain medical conditions or syndromes (e.g., hyperphosphatasia with mental retardation syndrome, HPMRS). It serves as a significant indication for certain medical conditions, diseases and syndromes. If the reason for alkaline phosphatase is unknown, isoenzyme studies using electrophoresis can confirm the source of the ALP. Heat stability also distinguishes bone and liver isoenzymes ("bone burns, liver lasts").

  • Placental alkaline phosphatase


    Alkaline phosphatase, placental type also known as placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP) is an allosteric enzyme that in humans is encoded by the ALPP gene.

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