Studies on the sterol-binding capacity of human pancreatic elastase 1

Gastroenterology. 1991 Mar;100(3):768-74. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(91)80024-4.


In previous studies we isolated human pancreatic elastase 1 from intestinal lavage fluids, where it was found to be part of a complex whose major component was cholesterol. The present study involves the isolation and characterization of this elastase 1-sterol complex recovered from feces of healthy subjects and patients whose intestinal microflora were nearly eradicated by antibiotics. Results indicate that elastase 1 essentially is complexed with neutral sterols, i.e., cholesterol, coprostanol, and coprostanone, in a weight ratio of about 1:1.5, corresponding to about 110 molecules of neutral sterols per one elastase 1 molecule. This complex is elutable with water from the solid moiety of the stools. Elastase 1 thus seems to fulfill the important function of maintaining water solubility of neutral sterols at low bile acid concentrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Cholestanes / analysis
  • Cholestanol / analysis
  • Cholesterol / analysis
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Feces / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestines / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Elastase / chemistry
  • Pancreatic Elastase / metabolism*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cholestanes
  • Cholestanol
  • Cholesterol
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • coprostanone