A number of enzymes can be measured in the blood or plasma that aid in the diagnosis of certain diseases. For example, patients with particular liver diseases may have elevated aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and/or alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels in the blood. These enzymes are normally involved in biochemical reactions of metabolism that interconvert amino acids with other metabolic intermediates - that is, biochemical reactions that are common within the liver cell. Also, patients with pancreatitis frequently have elevated amylase and lipase levels, which are digestive enzymes normally secreted into the gastrointestinal tract. During pancreatitis these enzymes are released into the blood, rising and falling with the resolution of pancreatic damage/inflammation.
Pathologically, the tissues that are damaged in these diseases (liver and pancreas, respectively) are the source of the elevated enzymes. In healthy individuals, however, these same enzymes are still found in low concentrations in the circulating blood. What is the source of these enzymes that are found in low circulating concentrations? Is it still those same tissues (e.g. AST/ALT from the liver)? Is this secondary to "normal turnover" of cells within those tissues? Or, alternatively, are these enzymes secreted into the blood to serve a particular function?
For example... There is a freely available manuscript by Arnold and Rutter published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (1963) that discusses experimental evidence for active amylase secretion from the liver during an isolated liver perfusion experiment. Amylase continues to be secreted, even in the absence of other enzymes that would otherwise indicate liver damage (suggesting that the amylase is intentionally being secreted for some unknown purpose). This is an paper from almost 60 years ago - do we know what some of these enzymes like AST/ALT and amylase do in the plasma? Or are those functions still unknown?