The lipolytic triad: human lingual, breast milk, and pancreatic lipases: physiological implications of their characteristics in digestion of dietary fats

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1982;1(2):243-55. doi: 10.1097/00005176-198201020-00016.


The characteristics of human lingual, breast milk, and pancreatic lipases as related to the digestion of dietary fats in infants are discussed. The activity and specificity of these enzymes and structure of the dietary fats largely determine the rates of lipolysis, the types of digestion products formed, and the rates of absorption. Also possibly influenced are micelle formation, intestinal health, breast milk jaundice, and the absorption of other nutrients. In premature infants, the action of lingual and breast milk lipase are particularly important in the absorption of dietary fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bile Acids and Salts / pharmacology
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Digestion
  • Female
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Lipase / metabolism*
  • Lipase / physiology
  • Lipolysis
  • Milk, Human / enzymology*
  • Milk, Human / metabolism
  • Pancreas / enzymology*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Tongue / enzymology*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Dietary Fats
  • Triglycerides
  • Lipase