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Trypsinogen Blood Test

Last updated Nov. 15, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

The Trypsinogen Blood Test is a blood test that determines, if trypsinogen is circulating in the blood stream. This can be indicative of cystic fibrosis or pancreas-specific disorders, such as acute pancreatitis.


What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Immunoreactive Trypsinogen Blood Test

What is Trypsinogen Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Trypsinogen is the inactive form, or zymogen, of trypsin. Trypsin is a digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins into smaller fragments. It is called a protease (enzyme that breaks down proteins)
  • Trypsinogen is made in the pancreas, but performs its function in the duodenum of the small intestine. This is why it is made in its inactive form - to suppress its activity, until it reaches the site of digestion. This protects bodily proteins from harm by the protease
  • Upon reaching the duodenum of the small intestine, trypsinogen is activated to trypsin. It can then begin cleaving (breaking down) proteins into smaller fragments and individual amino acids, which are usable by the body
  • Trypsin travels along the digestive tract and is excreted along with feces. Its inactive form, trypsinogen, can also be found in blood
  • The Trypsinogen Blood Test is a blood test that determines, if trypsinogen is circulating in the blood stream. This can be indicative of cystic fibrosis or pancreas-specific disorders, such as acute pancreatitis

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Trypsinogen Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a Trypsinogen Blood Test:

  • Routine screening of newborns for cystic fibrosis
  • Excessively salty sweat
  • Progressive weight loss
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Passing of bulky, greasy stools with a foul-smelling odor
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Frequent coughing
  • Infertility
  • Frequent sinus infections

How is the Specimen Collected for Trypsinogen Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Trypsinogen Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process: Insertion of a needle into an arm vein, or pricking of an infant’s heel.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Trypsinogen Blood Test Result?

The significance of Trypsinogen Blood Test is explained:

  • Increased trypsinogen levels may indicate:
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Acute pancreatitis
    • Pancreatic disorder, or pancreas affected by cystic fibrosis
    • Pancreatic cancer
  • Decreased or normal trypsinogen levels may indicate chronic pancreatitis

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Trypsinogen Blood Test is often performed alongside a serum amylase test and serum lipase test, in order to identify pancreatic disorders

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 9, 2014
Last updated: Nov. 15, 2018