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Obes Surg. 2014 Feb;24(2):184-90. doi: 10.1007/s11695-013-1084-y.

Changes in intestinal permeability after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

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Instituto Alfa de Gastroenterologia, Hospital das Clínicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Avenida Bernardo Monteiro, 1397/802, 30150-281, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil,



Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) interferes considerably with the anatomy and physiology of the gastrointestinal tract. The study of intestinal permeability can provide important information regarding changes in the structure and function of the mucosal barrier after the procedure.


The urinary excretion rates of lactulose and mannitol after oral intake of both substances were evaluated. We also evaluated the lactulose/mannitol excretion ratio. Tests were performed during the preoperative period (T0), at the first postoperative month (T1), and at the sixth postoperative month (T6).


The study included 16 morbidly obese patients. The excretion rate of mannitol was significantly lower at T1 compared with T0 and T6 (p = 0.003). There was no significant difference in the excretion rates of lactulose or in the lactulose/mannitol ratio during the three periods. Six patients (37.5%) exhibited a considerable increase in the excretion rate of lactulose at T6 (4-73 times higher than the preoperative value), accompanied by proportional variations in the lactulose/mannitol ratio.


The significant increase in mannitol excretion rate from T1 to T6 most likely reflects the occurrence of intestinal adaptation (mucosal hyperplasia), which would tend to minimize the malabsorption of macronutrients. A subgroup of patients who undergo RYGB exhibit pronounced increase in their intestinal permeability (assessed by the lactulose/mannitol ratio and the lactulose excretion rate) at T6.

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