Mutations of the serine protease inhibitor, Kazal type 1 gene, in patients with idiopathic chronic pancreatitis

Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 May;97(5):1133-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2002.05673.x.


Objective: The pathogenesis of chronic pancreatitis (CP) is poorly understood. Genetic studies revealed mutations in the cationic trypsinogen gene and an increased frequency of cystic fibrosis gene mutations in patients with CP. Recently, a point mutation (N34S) in the gene encoding the serine protease inhibitor, Kazal type 1 (SPINK1), was found in approximately 20% of patients with CP. The aim of our study was to determine the frequency of the N34S SPINKI gene mutation in a well-defined patient cohort with idiopathic CP (ICP) and to compare the incidence with healthy controls. In addition, we investigated the impact of this mutation on the long-term course of CP.

Methods: Fourteen patients with early-onset and four patients with late-onset CP of our well-defined pancreatitis cohort were enrolled in the present study, and 397 healthy individuals served as a control population. Coding exonic and the flanking intronic sequences of SPINK1 were investigated by direct DNA sequencing. The mutations found were confirmed by melting curve analysis. In addition, the N34S mutation was detected by analyzing the DNA fragments generated by digestion with restriction enzyme TspR I. Clinical data of patients with the N34S mutation were compared with those without mutations.

Results: The N34S mutation was detected in six of 14 (43%) patients with early-onset ICP. One patient was homozygous, and five patients were heterozygous for this mutation. The N34S mutation in a heterozygous state was found in four of 397 healthy controls (1.0%). The different allele frequency observed (seven of 28 vs four of 794) was significant (odds ratio = 66, 95% CI = 18-242, p < 0.0001). The clinical course was similar in patients with a mutation compared with those without a mutation. No other SPINKI mutations were detected. The N34S mutation was not found in patients with late-onset ICP.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that the N34S mutation in the SPINKI gene is strongly associated with ICP, especially with the early-onset type. The natural course is similar in patients with mutations compared with SPINK1 mutation-negative patients. The N34S mutation may easily be screened for by restriction digestion with TspR I.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • DNA / analysis
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pancreatitis / epidemiology
  • Pancreatitis / genetics*
  • Pancreatitis / physiopathology
  • Point Mutation*
  • Reference Values
  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Kazal Pancreatic / genetics*


  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Kazal Pancreatic
  • DNA