lipase: What is it? Lipoprotein Deficiency, Test, Results, Medical Uses and Industrial Uses

It is an enzyme that is used in the body to break down fats in food so that they can be absorbed.

Its main function is to catalyze the hydrolysis of triacylglycerol to glycerol and free fatty acids.

Lipoprotein Family Lipase Deficiency

Familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPL) is a rare genetic metabolic disorder characterized by a deficiency of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase.

The deficiency of this enzyme prevents affected people digesting certain fats and results in the massive accumulation of droplets of fat called chylomicrons in the circulation ( chylomicronemia ) and, consequently, also an increase in the plasma concentration of fatty substances called triglycerides .

Affected individuals often experience episodes of abdominal pain, recurrent acute inflammation of the pancreas ( pancreatitis ), abnormal enlargement of the liver and / or spleen (hepatosplenomegaly) and the development of skin lesions known as eruptive xanthomas.

Familial LPL deficiency is caused by mutations in the lipoprotein lipase (LPL) gene and is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. Recently, mutations in other genes besides LPL were found to cause a clinical picture similar to LPL deficiency.

What is a lipase test?

A lipase test measures the level of a protein called lipase in your blood.

Lipase helps your body absorb fats. It is released by the pancreas, a long, flat gland between the stomach and the spine.

When the pancreas is inflamed or injured, it releases more lipase than normal. Your doctor may want to find out the level of this protein in your blood to determine how well the pancreas is doing.

A lipase test can also be called a serum lipase or LPS.

What Diseases Can This Test Find?

A doctor will order a lipase test if you suspect that you may have acute pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that causes abdominal pain.

The following symptoms may be a sign of inflammation of the pancreas:

  • Abdominal or severe back pain.
  • Fever.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea.

The test can also be used to control your pancreas if you have already been diagnosed with acute (sudden, severe) or chronic (ongoing) pancreatitis. You can find out if the lipase levels are increasing or decreasing.

It can also be used to determine if a treatment is working well. Sometimes, a lipase test will also be used to control other conditions, including:

  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the lining of the internal abdominal wall).
  • Strangled or infarcted bowel (intestine with restricted blood supply).
  • Pancreatic cyst
  • Cystic fibrosis (a hereditary disease in which thick mucus can damage organs).
  • Crohn’s disease (inflammation of your digestive tract).
  • Celiac disease (triggered by the gluten protein, your immune system attacks your small intestine).

How do I prepare?

If you have a lipase test scheduled in advance, you will need to fast.

You will probably be asked to stop eating or drinking anything other than water for 8 to 12 hours before.

Your doctor may also ask you to stop taking some medications that may affect the results of the test. Make sure you know all the prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and supplements you take.

What happens during a Test?

In a lipase test, a lab technician will take a small sample of blood. You are likely to put a band around the upper part of your arm to help make your veins easier to find.

Then he will insert a needle into one of his veins. Once there is enough blood in a tube, the band will come out and he will draw the needle. He will put a bandage on the place where the needle entered.

Any risk with taking this Test?

You may feel a slight sting or pain during the blood draw. You may feel palpitations on the site later. The risks of blood collection are minor and include:

  • Slight pain
  • Bruises.
  • Redness and swelling
  • Infection.
  • Dizziness.
  • Rare possibility of fainting.

What do the Results mean?

A high level of lipase in the blood indicates that you may have a condition that affects the pancreas.

Normal levels vary slightly between laboratories, so you and your doctor will look at the ranges given with the results to determine how lipase levels compare to normal levels.

In acute pancreatitis, the levels are often 5 to 10 times higher than the highest reference value. Other conditions can also cause a slight increase in lipase levels, which include:

  • Intestinal obstruction.
  • Celiac Disease.
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Infection or swelling of the pancreas.
  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Renal (kidney) failure.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Use of certain medications, including some painkillers and contraceptive pills.

Will other tests be done?

Although doctors believe that the lipase test is the best way to diagnose acute pancreatitis, your doctor may also order a blood test for amylase, another enzyme that increases with pancreatitis.

A scan, such as an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI scan, may be done so your doctor can see any physical abnormalities or swelling in your pancreas.

Using Diagnostics

Blood tests for lipase can be used to help investigate and diagnose acute pancreatitis and other disorders of the pancreas. The measured serum lipase values ​​may vary according to the method of analysis.

Medical use

Lipase can also help in the breakdown of fats into lipids in those undergoing pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT). It is a key component in Sollpura (Liprotamase).

Industrial Uses

Lipases fulfill important functions in human practices, as old as the fermentation of yogurt and cheese. However, lipases are also being exploited as economic and versatile catalysts to degrade lipids in more modern applications.

For example, a biotechnology company has brought to the market the recombinant lipase enzymes for use in applications such as baking, laundry detergents and even as biocatalysts in alternative energy strategies to convert vegetable oil into fuel.

The high activity of the enzyme lipase can replace the traditional catalyst in the processing of biodiesel, since this enzyme replaces the chemicals in a process that is otherwise highly energy-intensive, and can be more environmentally friendly and more insurance.

The industrial application of lipases requires the intensification of the process for continuous processing using tools such as small-scale continuous flow microreactors. Lipases are generally of animal origin, but they can also be obtained microbially.