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Just about everybody at one point or another will experience abdominal pain. Most of the causes are not serious and can be readily diagnosed and treated. However, pain can also be a sign of a serious illness. It's important to be able to recognize symptoms that are severe and know when to call a doctor.

A lipase is a water-soluble enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of ester bonds in water–insoluble, lipid substrates.  Lipase is an enzyme necessary for the absorption and digestion of lipids. 

Where is it found

Lipases are present throughout our body. Most of the lipase is manufactured in the pancreas, although some of it is also secreted in the saliva.  Pancreas produces about a litre and a half of digestive juices per day e.g. protease, amylase, lipase, cellulase & lactase.

 Lipase is the enzyme, which is produced to digest fats.  

Sources of Lipase…

The different types of lipases found in our body include –

–        Pancreatic lipase – secreted by pancreas

–        Hepatic lipase – present in Liver

–        Lipoprotein Lipase/Endothelial lipase –  present in the endothelial cells

–        Lysosomal lipase – present intracellularly

        Gastric lipase – secreted in the stomach              


Lipases perform essential roles in the:-

•          Digestion

•          Transport &

•          Processing of dietary lipids in most- if not all- living organisms. (e.g. triglycerides, fats, oils)

Hydrolysis of triglyceride into monoglyceride and free fatty acids is accomplished predominantly by pancreatic lipase. 

Clinical Significance :

Elevated levels of lipase in blood may indicate a problem related to pancreas.

When the pancreas are inflamed, increased blood levels of the pancreatic enzymes, amylase and lipase will result.

The normal lipase level is 00-193 U/L.  Normal values may vary from laboratory to laboratory.

•          Causes of hyperlipasemia (high lipase levels) may include:

–        Pancreatitis – also known as inflammation of the pancreas, can cause amylase and lipase levels to be increased up to 3 times normal. Both values should be measured, in order to carry the diagnosis of pancreatitis.

–        Lipase may be increased in tumors of the pancreas, or stomach.

–        Gall bladder infection – Inflammation of the gall bladder (cholecystitis), may cause increased lipase levels.

–        Kidney failure can cause hyperlipasemia.

Diagnostic Significance :

•          Amylase & Lipase tests are used to monitor the diagnosis and treatment of acute pancreatitis and to differentiate pancreatitis from other abdominal disorders

•             An elevated amylase may indicate a problem but non-pancreatic disorders can cause increased amylase levels.

•          Lipase levels are usually increased in pancreatic disorders. 

•          So, Lipase being more specific (91%), helps in the differential diagnosis of Acute pancreatitis.

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