Secretion and contribution to lipolysis of gastric and pancreatic lipases during a test meal in humans

Gastroenterology. 1993 Sep;105(3):876-88. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(93)90908-u.


Background: The aim of this study was to quantitatively evaluate the relative contributions to in vivo lipolysis of gastric and pancreatic lipases.

Methods: Gastric and pancreatic lipase secretions were measured, and their respective levels were determined in duodenal fluid during the digestion of a liquid test meal in healthy volunteers. Gastric lipase activity was clearly distinguished from that of pancreatic lipase by using both a specific enzymatic assay and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Lipolysis products were monitored throughout the digestion period.

Results: On a weight basis, the ratio of pancreatic lipase to gastric lipase total secretory outputs was found to be around four after 3 hours of digestion. The level of gastric hydrolysis was calculated to be 10% +/- 1% of the acyl chains released from the meal triglycerides. Gastric lipase remained active in the duodenum where it might still hydrolyze 7.5% of the triglyceride acyl chains.

Conclusions: Globally during the whole digestion period, gastric lipase might hydrolyze 17.5% of the triglyceride acyl chains. In other words, gastric lipase might hydrolyze 1 acyl chain of 4, which need to be hydrolyzed for a complete intestinal absorption of monoglycerides and free fatty acids resulting from the degradation of two triglyceride molecules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Duodenum / chemistry
  • Duodenum / metabolism
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Food*
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology
  • Lipase / metabolism*
  • Lipase / physiology*
  • Lipolysis / physiology*
  • Pancreas / enzymology*
  • Stomach / chemistry
  • Stomach / enzymology*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids
  • Triglycerides
  • Lipase