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

Cholesteryl octanoate breath test. Preliminary studies on a new noninvasive test of human pancreatic exocrine function.

A new breath test for noninvasive assessment of pancreatic exocrine function in humans was developed. The test is based on the hydrolysis of cholesteryl-[1-14C]octanoate by pancreatic carboxyl ester lipase (cholesterol esterase) with subsequent absorption and hepatic metabolism of the liberated octanoate to 14CO2. The rate at which 14CO2 appears in breath appeared to be proportional to the rate of hydrolysis. The substrate is administered as a gum acacia stabilized emulsion of vegetable oil (18 g) containing cholesteryl octanoate (2 g; 4.4 microCi) dispersed in a 500-ml isotonic meal. Tests were performed in 6 healthy volunteers and 11 patients with pancreatic disease with varying degrees of steatorrhea. In healthy subjects, 14CO2 output was rapid with peak output occurring at 60-90 min in all subjects; cumulative output in 4 h averaged 30%. Duplicate studies indicated that the time-course of 14CO2 recovery was reproducible. The pattern of 14CO2 output in patients with pancreatic disease varied widely. Patients without steatorrhea (fecal fat less than or equal to 7 g/day) or with mild steatorrhea (fecal fat 7-11 g/day) had normal or near normal patterns of 14CO2 output, whereas patients with moderate or severe steatorrhea (fecal fat greater than 11 g/day) expired 14CO2 at a rate one-third to one-tenth that of the healthy volunteers. Addition of pancreatic enzyme supplementation to the test meal increased 14CO2 output in 6 of 6 patients with moderate or severe steatorrhea, suggesting that the activity of pancreatic carboxyl ester lipase was rate limiting in these patients. In an additional study in a healthy volunteer, 14CO2 and 13CO2 were measured simultaneously in breath after ingestion of a test meal containing cholesteryl-[1-13C]octanoate and 14C-octanoate. 14CO2 was expired more rapidly than 13CO2, suggesting that hydrolysis of the substrate may also be rate limiting in healthy volunteers. These studies indicate that severe pancreatic exocrine dysfunction can be detected with a simple breath test in 60-90 min.[1]


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