Disaccharidases - small bowel mucosa

Specimen:

Small bowel biopsy: at least 5 mg fresh tissue transported in a container on melting ice.

Method:

Spectrophotometry on tissue extract with assay of lactase, sucrase, maltase, isomaltase, as appropriate.

Reference Interval:

Depends on laboratory.

Application:

Investigation of patients with diarrhoea and/or colic in whom sugar intolerance is suspected; investigation of those with small bowel malabsorption.

Interpretation:

All brush border enzymes are reduced in subtotal villous atrophy; lactase is very low in lactose intolerance; sucrase and isomaltase are very low in sucrose intolerance.

Reference:

Lebenthal E, Lee PC. J Pediatr. 1980; 97: 389-393.