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Volume 341, Issue 8858 5 June 1993, Pages 1437-1439
Originally published as Volume 1, Issue 8858
Intestinal permeability and the prediction of relapse in Crohn’s disease
J. Wyatt MS, H. Vogelsang MD, W. Hübl MD, T. Waldhoer PhD, H. Lochs MD
To see whether intestinal permeability (IP) predicted relapse in Crohn’s disease, we measured IP in 72 patients with quiescent Crohn’s disease using the lactulose-mannitol test. The permeability index (lactulose/mannitol) was significantly higher in patients than in controls (0·046 [SEM 0·005] vs 0·018 [SEM 0·002], respectively). Patients were followed for 1 year after the test. 26 of the 37 patients with raised permeability, but only 6 of the 35 with normal permeability relapsed within 1 year after the test (p<0·001). The sensitivity of the permeability test as a predictor for relapse was 81 %. A significant correlation was found between the value of the permeability index and the probability of relapse (p<0·01). These results show that increases in intestinal permeability precede clinical relapses in Crohn’s disease and so are an indicator of subclinical disease. The measurement of intestinal permeability may lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease.