Intestinal Fatty Acid Binding Protein and Citrulline as Markers of Gut Injury and Prognosis in Patients With Acute Pancreatitis

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Severe acute pancreatitis (AP) is associated with high mortality due to systemic inflammatory response syndrome in the early phase and secondary infection in the later phase. Concomitant intestinal ischemia often results in gut injury. We studied intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP) and citrulline levels as markers of gut injury to predict prognosis in AP.


Acute pancreatitis patients at admission and controls were studied. Serum IFABP was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and plasma citrulline by high-performance liquid chromatography technique. Ultrastructural changes in duodenal biopsy were also compared between the 2 groups.


The IFABP concentration was significantly higher in AP cases (n = 94) compared with controls (n = 100) (mean [standard deviation], 592.5 [753.6] vs 87.8 [67.6] pg/mL; P < 0.001) and in patients with severe AP versus mild AP (738.3 [955.3] vs 404.0 [263.3] pg/ mL, P = 0.03). Citrulline concentration was lower in AP versus controls (29.9 [33.8] vs 83.9 [60.1] μg/L, P < 0.001). We propose a model by which these biomarkers (IFABP >350 pg/mL and citrulline <18 μg/L) are able to predict poor prognosis in 33.9% of patients with AP. The gut injury was also validated via ultrastructural changes.


Intestinal fatty acid binding protein is a promising prognostic marker in acute pancreatitis.

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