Background: Fermentation products of malabsorbed nutrients are thought to be responsible for intestinal adaptation following small bowel resection in rats. It has been suggested that either short-chain fatty acids or polyamines (mainly putrescine and cadaverine) could be the fermentation products involved. There are no data available on fecal polyamine content in humans. The present study compared the fecal polyamine concentrations in children with and without malabsorption. Methods: Sixteen (8 girls, 8 boys) malabsorption patients (cystic fibrosis: 13, short bowel syndrome: 2, biliary atresia: 1) with a mean age of 8 years were compared to 17 (9 girls, 8 boys) sick children without malabsorption (mean age 5.7 years). Three-day fecal collections were performed and analyzed for fat and polyamine concentrations. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used for the measurement of polyamine concentrations. Results: Mean and SEM for fetal fat excretion was 13.4 ± 2.5 g/day and 1.5 ± 0.3 g/day in the malabsorption and control group respectively. Median fetal cadaverine and putrescine concentrations were 3723 μ feces and 4737 μ feces for the malabsorption group and 114 μ feces and 306 μ feces for the control group (p < 0.007 and < 0.00001 respectively). No significant differences were found for fecal spermine and spermidine concentrations between the two groups. Conclusions: Children with malabsorption show very high fecal putrescine and cadaverine concentrations. Our results support the hypothesis that fecal polyamines could be important.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Department of Pediatrics

Forget, P. P., Sinaasappel, M., Bouquet, J., Deutz, N., & Smeets, C. (1997). Fecal polyamine concentration in children with and without nutrient malabsorption. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 24(3), 285–288. doi:10.1097/00005176-199703000-00010