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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1999 Jan-Feb;23(1):7-11.

Effect of long-term oral glutamine supplements on small intestinal permeability in patients with Crohn's disease.

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Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital Leuven, Belgium.



Glutamine is a major fuel and an important nitrogen source for the small intestinal cell. It plays a key role in maintaining mucosal cell integrity and gut barrier function. Increased permeability may be a factor in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease and may be an interesting parameter in the follow-up of the disease. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine whether oral glutamine supplements are able to restore an increased intestinal permeability in patients with Crohn's disease.


The inclusion criteria for the study were Crohn's disease and a disturbed small intestinal permeability for 51Cr-EDTA. Of 38 patients screened, 18 had an increased permeability (6 hours urinary excretion >1.1% of label recovered in urine). Fourteen patients were included in the study and were randomized to receive either oral glutamine (7 g three times per day; n = 7) or placebo (7 g glycine three times per day; n = 7) in addition to their normal treatment during a 4-week period. The study was performed in a double-blind manner.


Baseline permeability (mean +/- SD) was 2.32%+/-0.77% dose in the glutamine group and 2.29%+/-0.67% dose in the placebo group. Permeability did not change significantly after glutamine (3.26%+/-2.15% dose) or after placebo (2.27%+/-1.32% dose). There was no significant effect on plasma glutamine, plasma glutamate, plasma ammonium, Crohn's disease activity index, C-reactive protein, or nutritional status.


Oral glutamine supplements, in the dose administered, do not seem to restore impaired permeability in patients with Crohn's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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