Urine sugars for in vivo gut permeability: Validation and comparisons in irritable bowel syndrome-diarrhea and controls

Archana S. Rao, Michael Camilleri, Deborah J. Eckert, Irene Busciglio, Duane D. Burton, Michael Ryks, Banny S. Wong, Jesse Lamsam, Ravinder Singh, Alan R. Zinsmeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Mucosal barrier dysfunction contributes to gastrointestinal diseases. Our aims were to validate urine sugar excretion as an in vivo test of small bowel (SB) and colonic permeability and to compare permeability in patients with irritable bowel syndrome-diarrhea (IBS-D) to positive and negative controls. Oral lactulose (L) and mannitol (M) were administered with 99mTc-oral solution, 111In-oral delayed-release capsule, or directly into the ascending colon (only in healthy controls). We compared L and M excretion in urine collections at specific times in 12 patients with IBS-D, 12 healthy controls, and 10 patients with inactive or treated ulcerative or microscopic colitis (UC/MC). Sugars were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Primary endpoints were cumulative 0-2-h, 2-8-h, and 8-24-h urinary sugars. Radioisotopes in the colon at 2 h and 8 h were measured by scintigraphy. Kruskal-Wallis and Wilcoxon tests were used to assess the overall and pairwise associations, respectively, between group and urinary sugars. The liquid in the colon at 2 h and 8 h was as follows: health, 62 ± 9% and 89 ± 3%; IBS-D, 56 ± 11% and 90 ± 3%; and UC/MC, 35 ± 8% and 78 ± 6%, respectively. Liquid formulation was associated with higher M excretion compared with capsule formulation at 0-2 h (health P = 0.049; IBS-D P < 0.001) but not during 8-24 h. UC/MC was associated with increased urine L and M excretion compared with health (but not to IBS-D) at 8-24 h, not at 0-2 h. There were significant differences between IBS-D and health in urine M excretion at 0-2 h and 2-8 h and L excretion at 8-24 h. Urine sugars at 0-2 h and 8-24 h reflect SB and colonic permeability, respectively. IBS-D is associated with increased SB and colonic mucosal permeability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G919-G928
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Colon
  • Excretion
  • Lactulose
  • Mannitol
  • Small intestine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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