Food and Behaviour Research

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Increased gastrointestinal permeability and gut inflammation in children with functional abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome

Shulman RJ, Eakin MN, Czyzewski DI, Jarrett M, Ou CN. (2008) J Pediatr. 153(5): 646-50. Epub 2008 Jun 9. 

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OBJECTIVES: To determine gastrointestinal (GI) permeability and fecal calprotectin concentration in children 7 to 10 years of age with functional abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome (FAP/IBS) versus control subjects and ascertain potential relationships with pain symptoms and stooling.

STUDY DESIGN: GI permeability and fecal calprotectin concentration were measured. Children kept a 2-week diary of pain episodes and stooling pattern.

RESULTS: Proximal GI permeability was greater in the FAP/IBS group (n = 93) compared with control subjects (n = 52) (0.59 +/- 0.50 vs 0.36 +/- 0.26, respectively; mean +/- SD; P < .001) as was colonic permeability (1.01 +/- 0.67 vs 0.81 +/- 0.43, respectively; P < .05). Gastric and small intestinal permeability were similar. Fecal calprotectin concentration was greater in children with FAP/IBS compared with control children (65.5 +/- 75.4 microg/g stool vs 43.2 +/- 39.4, respectively; P < .01). Fecal calprotectin concentration correlated with pain interference with activities (P = .01, r(2) = 0.36). There was no correlation between GI permeability and pain related symptoms. Neither permeability nor fecal calprotectin correlated with stool form.

CONCLUSIONS: Children with FAP/IBS have evidence of increased GI permeability and low-grade GI inflammation, with the latter relating to the degree to which pain interferes with activities.