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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999 Apr;11(4):409-12.

Intestinal permeability in liver cirrhosis.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Ege University Medical School, Bornova, Izmir, Turkey.



To determine the changes in intestinal permeability in liver cirrhosis and to investigate whether intestinal permeability relates to the stage and aetiology of cirrhosis or existence of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP).


A prospective study of intestinal permeability in patients with cirrhosis.


Gastroenterology and Nuclear Medicine Departments of Ege University Hospital.


Intestinal permeability was assessed in 44 consecutive patients with cirrhosis and 10 healthy volunteers by measuring 24 h urine excretion of (99m)technetium diethyl triamine penta-acetic acid (99mTc DTPA). Cases with an associated disease, impaired renal function, continuing alcohol consumption and drug intake which is known to have an effect on intestinal permeability were excluded.


Comparisons of 24 h urine excretion of 99mTc DTPA were made between the groups of cirrhotics and controls, different grades of cirrhosis (according to Child-Pugh criteria), alcoholic and non-alcoholic cirrhotics and cirrhotic patients with and without SBP.


Patients with cirrhosis excreted 99mTc DTPA significantly more than controls (11.56 +/- 8.96% in cirrhotics and 4.30 +/- 1.49% in controls, P < 0.0001). There was no relationship of 24 h urine excretion of the tracer with the grade and aetiology of cirrhosis (12.20 +/- 9.47%, 11.41 +/- 9.84%, and 11.09 +/- 8.42%, in Child A, B, and C groups and 8.45 +/- 6.57% and 12.05 +/- 9.25% in alcoholic and non-alcoholic cirrhotics, respectively). No significant difference was found between cirrhotic patients with and without SBP in terms of excretion of the administered dose of 99mTc DTPA (9.98 +/- 9.47% and 12.20 +/- 8.82%, respectively).


This study shows that intestinal permeability increased in cirrhotic patients regardless of the grade and aetiology of disease. The presence of SBP does not seem to be due to increased intestinal permeability.

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