Rapid and accurate diagnostics of a disease is key in the choice of adequate treatment in both human and veterinary medicine. Phenotypical diagnostics are a precious alternative to the growing number of strategies based on genotypical anlaysis (PCR), and here, Enzyme biomarkers of disease are particularly appreciated because they allow for the design of responsive probes and guarantee particularly elevated detection sensitivity thanks to the phenomenon of biocatalytic signal amplification. Also, enzyme biomarkers of interest are usually only found in a specific tissue or in a limited number of tissues. An enzyme can also have different forms, called isozymes, that are also found in specific tissues.
The presence of a certain type of enzyme, or a change in its activity, may be characteristic of a disease including pancreatic disorders, acute hepatic injury or myocardial infarction. The detection and the quantification of those enzyme activities thus allows for an accurate and rapid way to diagnose such diseases and are part of standard biochemical tests used in veterinary medicine.
Most veterinary laboratories routinely use a basic set of enzymatic tests that informs on a variety of situations. For small animals, these tests include total proteins, albumin, globulin, urea, creatinine, Alanine Amino Transaminase (ALT), and Alkaline phosphatase (ALP). Other enzymes can be added to this basic panel, such as the glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) and/or gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) depending on the animal.
Those enzymes inform on conditions such as dehydration, inflammation, heart condition, liver conditions or renal failure.
Other enzymes can be investigated in additional tests and are specific to diseases such as sorbitol dehydrogenase (hepatocellular damage in horses), alpha-amylase or lipase (pancreatitis in dogs) or trypsin (pancreatic insufficiency).
However, in contrast to the detection of enzymes in basic panel tests which are carried out systematically, those tests are added according to the main observed clinical sign.