Biochemical Markers of In Vivo Hepatotoxicity
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A chemical compound, whether of natural or of synthetic origin, brings about a toxicological effect when its dose is high enough or the duration of exposure is sufficient to cause an alteration in the normal homeostasis of body fluids and tissues. Therefore, the right dose differentiates a toxicant from a remedy. The body detoxifies drugs and other chemical compounds through key organs such as the liver. The liver plays a central role in the metabolism and excretion of xenobiotics which makes it highly susceptible to their adverse and toxic effects. These effects can be manifested in the form of hepatic injuries, which take many forms from cellular degeneration and necrosis to cirrhosis or cholestasis to vascular injury. Exposure to hepatotoxicants alters the homeostatic balance of various biological markers that provides a powerful and dynamic approach to understanding the spectrum of liver diseases. These markers offer a means for homogeneous classification of a disease and risk factor, and they can extend one's basic information about the underlying pathogenesis of disease and in drug design.