Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 705–708 | Cite as

PEG-400 excretion in patients with Crohn's disease, their first-degree relatives, and healthy volunteers

  • D. Ruttenberg
  • G. O. Young
  • J. P. Wright
  • S. Isaacs
Original Articles


An altered small bowel permeability may be implicated in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease. Intestinal permeability, using polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400) as the orally ingested probe, was assessed in 45 patients with Crohn's disease (ilealN=14, ileocolonicN=9, colonicN=10, postresectionN=12), 20 first-degree relatives, and 31 controls. PEG 400 excretion was measured using a direct injection HPLC method, and results are expressed as percent of dose recovered in urine (median and range). No quantitative differences in the recovery of PEG-400 were found [Crohn's patients 21.9% (6.1–39.9), relatives 23.7% (4.9–39.9), controls 25.0% (4.5–39.7)]. In all groups, the composition of ingested and recovered PEG-400 was similar and no selective permeability to any molecular weight species was found. Disease site did not influence probe recovery [ileal 23.8% (7.7–30.6), ileocolonic 22.6% (14.4–33.8), colonic 27.8% (9.5–33.5)]. Resected patients had significantly lower PEG-400 recovery [18.8% (8.1–39.9)] than nonresected patients [23.5% (6.1–33.8%)P<0.02]. The data suggest either that altered intestinal permeability is not a factor in Crohn's disease or that PEG-400 is not a suitable probe.

Key Words

polyethylene glycol 400 intestinal permeability small bowel permeability Crohn's disease 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Ruttenberg
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. O. Young
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. P. Wright
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Isaacs
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Gastrointestinal Clinic, Departments of Medicine and Medical InformaticsUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Groote Schuur HospitalCape TownSouth Africa

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