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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 20, Issue 12, Pages 787-789
Brief Communication

Retractile Mesenteritis Presenting as Protein-Losing Gastroenteropathy

Bahe Rajendran and Donald R Duerksen

Department of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Received 17 February 2006; Accepted 2 March 2006

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Retractile mesenteritis is a rare, idiopathic condition characterized by nonspecific inflammation of the mesenteric adipose tissue. The majority of patients present with abdominal pain and/or a palpable mass. In the present report, a 68-year-old man with peripheral edema and mild hypoalbuminemia is presented. Protein-losing gastroenteropathy was confirmed with an abnormal stool alpha1-antitrypsin clearance test and retractile mesenteritis was diagnosed at laparoscopy. This rare condition may respond to therapy with corticosteroids, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, colchicine, progesterone, tamoxifen or thalidomide. Gastroenterologists should consider the diagnosis of protein-losing enteropathy in patients who present with unexplained peripheral edema or hypoalbuminemia. The test of choice to confirm this diagnosis is the stool alpha1-antitrypsin clearance test.