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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Fecal triglyceride excretion is not excessive in pancreatic insufficiency.

Steatorrhea can result from maldigestion or malabsorption. As the pathophysiology underlying impaired digestion differs from impaired absorption, it is important to differentiate these two disorders. It is generally accepted that patients with maldigestion excrete an excessive amount of triglyceride and patients with malabsorption excrete an excess of the lipolytic product of triglyceride, fatty acid. The two-step Sudan stain has been used as a simple test to differentiate these disorders. The validity of the test has not yet been established. In this study, fecal fatty acid and triglyceride were measured after extraction and thin-layer chromatographic separation. Our results indicate that in adult patients with pancreatic insufficiency, the fecal triglyceride content does not differ from the controls. However, a fivefold to sixfold increase in fecal fatty acid content in patients with pancreatic insufficiency was revealed. As patients with maldigestion do not excrete an excess of undigested triglyceride, it is not possible to differentiate maldigestion from malabsorption by quantifying fecal triglyceride and fatty acid.[1]


  1. Fecal triglyceride excretion is not excessive in pancreatic insufficiency. Khouri, M.R., Ng, S.N., Huang, G., Shiau, Y.F. Gastroenterology (1989) [Pubmed]
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