BackgroundLow alanine aminotransaminase (LALT) levels may be seen in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but there has been no study about the frequency and its clinical significance. We aimed to analyze the frequency of LALT, and its clinical significance in children with IBD.MethodsThe study included the 89 patients with IBD without hepatobiliary involvement. LALT was defined as ALT levels <5 U/L. Demographic and clinical findings and outcome of the patients with and without LALT were compared.ResultsLALT was found 47.1% of the patients. At initial examination, it was more common in female patients (92.3 vs. 41.3%, P<0.001) and patients with CD (57.7 vs. 30.2%, P=0.01). 75% of the patients with penetrating Crohn's disease (CD) had LALT (P=0.002). Hemoglobin (10.42.1 vs. 11.7 +/- 1.9g/dL, P=0.01), folic acid (5.2 +/- 3.3 vs. 8.6 +/- 5.9ng/mL, P=0.02) and serum albumin levels (3.6 +/- 0.8 vs. 4.7 +/- 5g/dL, P=0.002) were significantly low in patients with LALT. LALT was associted with the disease relapse within 2weeks in 12 of the 16 patients with LALT whereas it was seen in 16 of the 73 patients without LALT during the follow-up (75 vs. 21.9%, P<0.001). Additionally, steroid dependency was more common in patients with LALT during the follow-up (62.5 vs. 12.3%, P<0.001).ConclusionsLALT is common in children with IBD especially in CD and associated with low hemoglobin, albumin and folic acid levels. It may be a marker of relapse and steroid dependency.