Serum samples obtained from 20 insulin-dependent diabetics (IDD), 23 non-insulin-dependent diabetics (NIDD) and 30 controls were assayed for their pancreatic lipase activity, immunoreactive trypsin concentration and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1) respectively. The distribution of serum pancreatic lipase activity in normal subjects and diabetics was nonparametric. The median serum lipase activity in IDDs (86 U/l) was significantly lower that that in controls (131 U/l, p less than 0.002) and NIDDs (126 U/l, p less than 0.001). There was a significant correlation between serum pancreatic lipase activity and serum IRT concentration (r = 0.65, p less than 0.001). Neither pancreatic lipase activity nor IRT was related to HbA1 concentrations. These data show for the first time that serum pancreatic lipase activity is diminished in IDDs.
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