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Fujisawa T. Kimura A. Ushijima K. Nakashima E. Inoue T. Yamashita Y. Kato H.
Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Kurume University, School of Medicine, Asahimachi, Japan.
BACKGROUND: Ursodeoxycholic acid absorption in the proximal intestine may be impaired in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. METHODS: We examined the intestinal absorption of ursodeoxycholic acid by the oral ursodeoxycholic acid tolerance test in 19 children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease at various stages, including 8 patients with unoperated Crohn's disease, 3 patients with ileal-resected Crohn's disease, 8 with ulcerative colitis, and 8 healthy control subjects. RESULTS: Ursodeoxycholic acid malabsorption was present in all patients with unoperated Crohn's disease in the first diagnosed active stage, in 3 of 5 patients in a relapsing active stage, and in 2 of 8 patients in remission. Ursodeoxycholic acid absorption was significantly lower in patients in the first diagnosed active stage than in the healthy controls (p < 0.01) or in patients in remission (p < 0.01). There was no significant difference between healthy controls and the patients in a relapsing active stage or in remission. Ursodeoxycholic acid absorption was abnormal during the first postoperative month in patients with ileal-resected Crohn's disease, but normalized over time. Malabsorption of ursodeoxycholic acid was not observed in any patients with ulcerative colitis. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that absorption of ursodeoxycholic acid in the proximal intestine is impaired in patients with Crohn's disease and that the oral ursodeoxycholic acid tolerance test is a convenient and useful means of evaluating the absorption of bile acid in the proximal intestine in pediatric patients with ileal or ileocolic Crohn's disease.