Intestinal protein loss in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases may be easily determined by measurement of alpha-1-antitrypsin (alpha 1-AT) stool concentration and alpha 1-AT clearance. Both parameters were significantly raised in 36 and 34 patients respectively with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, compared with eight patients with non-inflammatory bowel diseases, or 19 healthy volunteers. There was wide range of overlap between active and inactive inflammatory disease. Contrary to serum alpha 1-AT, faecal excretion and clearance of alpha 1-AT did not correlate with ESR, serum-albumin, orosomucoid, and two indices of disease activity. A comparison of alpha 1-AT faecal excretion and clearance with the faecal excretion of 111In labelled granulocytes in 27 patients with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, showed no correlation between the intestinal protein loss and this highly specific marker of intestinal inflammation. Enteric protein loss expressed by faecal excretion and clearance of alpha 1-AT does not depend on mucosal inflammation only, but may be influenced by other factors.
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