Alpha-1 Antitrypsin

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin

Other names: Alpha1-antitrypsin, A1AT, AAT
Specimen: Blood


Your Alpha-1 Antitrypsin is

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

The liver produces antitrypsin alpha (AAT), a protein that helps to inactivate several enzymes. Elastase is the main enzyme countered by AAT. Immune cells produce elastase, which breaks down proteins and removes them from the lungs, preventing damage to lung tissue. Some forms of AAT are dysfunctional. Faulty AAT accumulates in the liver cells that produce it. The buildup begins to destroy the cells and damage the liver. AAT deficiency or dysfunction can lead to emphysema or cirrhosis of the liver.
A blood test can measure the amount of AAT by volume in the blood. DNA analysis of blood can determine which of several forms of AAT a person has. Certain mutations result in AAT deficiency. Others lead to the liver buildup that causes AAT-deficiency related cirrhosis of the liver.
Candidates for this test include infants or children who show signs of liver disease, adults who develop emphysema before age 40, and patients whose close relatives have an AAT deficiency.