Intestinal alkaline phosphatase activity was measured using levamisole inhibition, and results were compared with a previously reported method using L-phenylalanine. Sixty two per cent intestinal, 39% placental, and 1.3% of either bone or liver alkaline phosphatase activity remained when alkaline phosphatase activity was inhibited in a 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol (AMP) buffer reagent system with 10 mmol/l levamisole (final assay concentration 8.1 mmol/l). The assay imprecision (SD) was 0.6 U/l compared with 3.9 U/l using L-phenylalanine for specimens with total alkaline phosphatase activity less than 250 U/l (reference range 30-120 U/l). In serum pools with raised total alkaline phosphatase activity errors in recovered intestinal activity were small (usually less than 3 U/l) when intestinal alkaline phosphatase was added. Much larger errors and many underestimated results were found using L-phenylalanine. For non-haemolysed specimens it is concluded that an assay based on levamisole inhibition provides a better measure of intestinal alkaline phosphatase activity than L-phenylalanine.
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