Absorption of cobalamin free or bound to chicken serum was assessed in nine patients with pancreatic insufficiency. Simultaneously the in vitro effect of duodenal juice collected from six patients and seven controls was tested on labelled cobalamin complexed to chicken serum or to R salivary binder. Malabsorption of free cobalamin was observed in one of nine patients and in four of nine patients when cobalamin was administered bound to chicken serum. The in vitro effect of duodenal juice on cobalamin complexed to chicken serum or to R salivary binder was studied: the percentage of free cobalamin released was significantly decreased in pancreatic insufficiency compared with controls whatever the binder used; the degradation of R salivary binder was different in pancreatic insufficiency and in controls. Despite the in vitro abnormalities observed in pancreatic insufficiency, these did not correlate with the in vivo absorption of cobalamin which was often normal in our patients.
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