Exocrine Pancreatic Dysfunction in Malnourished Australian Aboriginal Children

Cleghorn, GJ, Erlich, J, Bowling, FG, Forrest, Y, Greer, R, Holt, TL and Shepherd, RW (1991) Exocrine Pancreatic Dysfunction in Malnourished Australian Aboriginal Children. Medical Journal of Australia, 154 1: 45-48.

Author Cleghorn, GJ
Erlich, J
Bowling, FG
Forrest, Y
Greer, R
Holt, TL
Shepherd, RW
Title Exocrine Pancreatic Dysfunction in Malnourished Australian Aboriginal Children
Journal name Medical Journal of Australia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0025-729X
Publication date 1991-01-01
Year available 1991
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 154
Issue 1
Start page 45
End page 48
Total pages 4
Place of publication SYDNEY
Language eng
Abstract Pancreatic exocrine dysfunction has been frequently recorded in protein-energy malnutrition in underdeveloped countries. In addition, the pancreas requires optimal nutrition for enzyme synthesis and potentially correctable pancreatic enzyme insufficiency may play a role in the continuation of protein-energy malnutrition. This problem has not been previously evaluated in Australian Aborigines. We have applied a screening test for pancreatic dysfunction (human immunoreactive trypsinogen [IRT] assay) to the study of 398 infants (6-36 months) admitted to the Alice Springs Hospital over a 20-month period. All infants were assessed by anthropometric measures and were assigned to three nutritional groups (normal, moderate or severely malnourished) and two growth groups (stunted or not stunted). Of the 198 infants who had at least a single serum cationic trypsinogen measurement taken, normal values for serum IRT (with confidence limits) were obtained from 57 children, who were normally nourished. IRT levels were significantly correlated with the degree of underweight but there was no correlation with the degree of stunting or age. Mean IRT levels for the moderate and severely underweight groups were significantly greater than the mean for the normal group (P < 0.01). Seventeen children (8.6%) had trypsinogen levels in excess of the 95th percentile for the normally nourished group, reflecting acinar cell damage or ductal obstruction. We conclude that pancreatic dysfunction may be a common and important overlooked factor contributing to ongoing malnutrition and disease in malnourished Australian Aboriginal children.
Keyword Cationic Trypsinogen
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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