Glucoamylase and disaccharidase activities in normal subjects and in patients with mucosal injury of the small intestine.
The development of glucoamylase activity was compared to that of disaccharidase in the small intestinal mucosa of infants and children. By the age of one month, infants have glucoamylase and disaccharidase levels comparable to those of young adults, indicating that young infants may be able to digest and absorb starches. In infants and children with varying degrees of mucosal injury of the small intestine, the activities of glucoamylase decreased progressively with increasing severity of the villus atrophy. However, the reduction of lactase, palatinase, and sucrase activities was more severe than the loss of activities of glucoamylase and maltase. Thus, children and infants may tolerate polymers of glucose better than disaccharides when they have mucosal injury associated with prolonged diarrhea.
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