Brown-bowel syndrome

M. Michowitz, S. Noy, D. Chayen, M. Baratz, J. B. Bawnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extensive brownish discoloration of the small bowel is rate and has been described mainly in association with malabsorption disorders. It is related to deficiency of the fat soluble vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant substance that prevents peroxidation of unsaturated fatty acids. Vitamin E deficiency may result in oxidized lipids, which when polymerized with polysaccharids form the brown, PAS-positive pigment termed ceroid or lipofuscin. The deposition of pigmented granules in the effected tissues accounts for the brownish discoloration. We present three patients ultimately found to have 'brown bowel syndrome (BBS)', in which the symptoms, preoperative findings, and respective diagnoses were different. In all three patients, serum Vitamin E levels were found to be extremely low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-569
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1989


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