Low serum trypsinogen levels in chronic pancreatitis: Correlation with parenchymal loss, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and diabetes but not CT-based cambridge severity scores for fibrosis

Academic Article


  • Background: Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is a complex inflammatory disorder of the pancreas affecting acinar cells, duct cells, islet cells and inflammatory cells including fibrosis-producing stellate cells. Serum trypsinogen is a biomarkers of acinar cell function. Aim: To define the degree of correlation between low trypsinogen levels as a marker of acinar cell function and variable features of CP. Methods: Serum samples from previously ascertained and well phenotyped case and control subjects from the North American Pancreatitis Study II (NAPS2) were used to measure serum trypsinogen levels in a commercial laboratory. Control samples were used to define normal ranges and compared with levels in CP patients with defined features. Results: A final cohort of 279 CP patients and 262 controls from the NAPS2 studies were evaluated. In controls trypsinogen had a mean of 34.96 ng/ml and SD = 11.99. Cut-off values for low trypsinogen ranged from <20 to 10 ng/ml and very low trypsinogen at <10 ng/ml. Compared to controls, CP was associated with very low trypsinogen levels (p < 0.0001). Within CP, very low trypsinogen levels correlated with parenchymal loss (pancreatic surgery [p < 0.05]; atrophy with calcifications, [p < 0.001]), EPI (p < 0.01, trend p < 0.001) and diabetes (trend p < 0.01) but not CT-based criteria for fibrosis (pancreatic duct dilation, irregularity, strictures). Conclusions: Very low serum trypsinogen levels correlate with measures of acinar cell loss including surgical resection, atrophic-calcific CP, diabetes and functional symptoms EPI but not duct morphology criteria. Serum trypsinogen levels correlate with decreased acinar cell function and therefore have biomarker utility clinical management.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Pancreatology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zhan W; Akshintala V; Greer PJ; Greer JB; Alkaade S; Anderson MA; Muniraj T; Papachristou GI; Sandhu BS; Slivka A
  • Start Page

  • 1368
  • End Page

  • 1378
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 7