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J Clin Gastroenterol. 1996 Apr;22(3):202-6.

Impaired pancreatic function in patients with Crohn's disease with and without pancreatic autoantibodies.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tübingen, Germany.


Pancreatic autoantibodies (PABs) are found in 31% of patients with Crohn's disease (CD), but they do not correlate with the activity of intestinal disease or the incidence of acute pancreatitis. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency has been observed in patients with CD. The aim of our study was to correlate the occurrence of PABs with exocrine pancreatic function to explore the clinical significance of these antibodies. Serum samples of 64 patients with CD were tested for PABs by indirect immunofluorescence. In addition, all patients were tested for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency by a fluorescein dilaurate test. PABs were detected in 26 of 64 patients (40%). The PAB-positive and -negative groups did not differ in clinical characteristics, such as age, sex, involvement of intestine, previous surgical interventions, drug therapy, and disease activity. Seven of the antibody-positive patients (27%) had impaired pancreatic function, in contrast to three of 38 PAB-negative patients (8%) (p < 0.05). In conclusion, exocrine pancreatic function is impaired significantly more often in PAB-positive than in PAB-negative patients. A prospective follow-up is required to determine whether PAB-positive patients are more likely to develop pancreatic insufficiency later in their course of disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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