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HPB Surgery
Volume 7 (1993), Issue 1, Pages 15-23

Monocyte Secretion of β-Hexosaminidase in Patients With Obstructive Jaundice

Department of Surgery, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff CF4 4XN, United Kingdom

Received 19 October 1992; Accepted 20 January 1993

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Monocyte hydrolases are harmful when secreted inappropriately. In this study we have investigated the levels of one of the hydrolases, β-hexosaminidase in patients with obstructive jaundice. These patients showed markedly elevated plasma levels, and their monocytes show increased spontaneous secretion and total enzyme content. The plasma enzyme levels correlate with monocyte enzyme content as well as bile salt, and bilirubin levels, the high levels may also reflect Kupffer cell damage, as these cells clear the enzyme. Compared with controls monocytes from jaundiced patients show reduced enzyme secretion after PMA stimulation, in vitro, and unchanged secretion after zymozan stimulation. There is a difference between plasma enzyme levels in benign and malignant patients but this does not provide a clear distinction between the two groups. We conclude that patients with obstructive jaundice have increased blood level of β-hexosaminidase, and that activated monocytes partly contribute to this change.