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Pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor (PSTI) is a potent natural inhibitor of trypsin. We proposed the hypothesis that, if the function of the PSTI is impaired by its genetic mutation, trypsin may easily promote autodigestion causing pancreatitis and we performed a mutational analysis of the PSTI gene in patients with pancreatitis. Two exonic mutations (N34S and R67C) were thought to be associated with a predisposition to pancreatitis. The N34S mutation was cosegregated with two intronic mutations, IVS1- 37T>C and IVS3-69insTTTT. Although we analyzed the function of the recombinant N34S protein, we could not demonstrate the loss of function of this protein. Intronic mutations, rather than N34S itself (IVS1- 37T>C + N34S + IVS3-69insTTTT complex), may be associated with the decreased function of the PSTI. Alternatively, increased digestion of N34S in vivo may be applicable. As for R67C, the conformational alteration of the protein by forming intra-molecular or intermolecular disulfide bonds with 67Cys was strongly suggested. These results, along with the brand-new findings in PSTI knockout mice, suggest that the genetic mutation of the PSTI is one of the important mechanisms for predisposition to pancreatitis by lowering the trypsin inhibitory function.