A new approach in the diagnosis of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency has been evaluated in animals. The method involves the oral administration of a chymotrypsin-labile peptide which contains p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) as a tracer group. In the small bowel in the presence of chymotrypsin, the PABA is split from the peptide and is rapidly absorbed. The amount of PABA (as total aromatic amines) recovered in the urine during the six hours after the dose is used as an index of exocrine pancreatic function. The procedure has been shown to be reliable in detecting surgically induced pancreatic insufficiency in rats, swine, and dogs.
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