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Exocrine Pancreas Function in Premature and Full Term Neonates


Extract: Pancreatic response to pancreozymin and secretin stimulations has been studied in premature and full term neonates. The following results have been obtained. (1) At birth premature neonates have a fairly well developed exocrine pancreatic function which is, however, lower than that of full term neonates. (2) One week after birth, exocrine pancreatic activity becomes higher in premature than in full term neonates. (3) Early administration of small amounts of starch stimulates pancreatic a-amylase (EC. production. (4) A high protein diet stimulates increased production of both trypsin (EC. and lipase (EC., whereas a high fat diet alone has no effect on lipase secretion.

Speculation: Exocrine pancreatic function is fairly well developed in premature neonates from 32-week gestation, although it is less developed at birth than it is in full term neonates and in older infants and children. After birth, the more rapid maturation of the exocrine pancreas function of premature neonates is probably related to the functional demands of a more rapid growth. The rates of maturation of secretion of a-amylase and trypsin increase proportionately to the starch and protein contents of the diet. The use of an appropriate diet therefore seems to be of great importance in regulating the secretions of the exocrine pancreas during the first month of life.

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Correspondence to G Zoppi.

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Zoppi, G., Andreotti, G., Pajno-Ferrara, F. et al. Exocrine Pancreas Function in Premature and Full Term Neonates. Pediatr Res 6, 880–886 (1972).

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  • α-Amylase
  • digestion
  • lipase
  • premature
  • trypsin

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