The value of estimating urinary indican
Urinary indican, a metabolic product of bacterial action on tryptophan in the small bowel, has been estimated in the urine as an indirect indication of small bowel bacterial contamination, in 50 normal controls, 18 patients with small bowel disease, 22 patients with calcific pancreaitis and group of 20 children with kwashiorkor and 10 control children of a similar age-group.
Elevated urinary indican excretion 2SD above the mean normal of 49 mg/24 hours was found in a variety of small bowel conditions. Patients with calcific pancreatitis had a mean indican level of 48 mg/24 hours, suggesting that there is no excess bacterial proliferation in the small bowel in this disease.
Urinary indican levels were extremely low in both control children and kwashiorkor patients. An insignificant increase occurred after the kwashiorkor was treated. The value of estimating the indicanuria level in each group is evaluated.