Intestinal permeability and effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus therapy in children with short bowel syndrome

Timothy A. Sentongo, Valeria Cohran, Simona Korff, Chris Sullivan, Kishore Iyer, Xiaotian Zheng

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34 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (also known as LGG) on intestinal permeability (IP) in children with short bowel syndrome (SBS). PATIENTS AND METHODS: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover clinical trial, baseline IP (ie, lactulose-to-mannitol ratio) was measured in subjects with SBS and healthy control subjects. Subjects with SBS received LGG or placebo for 4 weeks, followed by a 3-week washout before therapy was crossed over for another 4 weeks. IP, quantitative fecal cultures for Lactobacillus species (in colony-forming units [cfu] per gram of stool) and hydrogen breath test (HBT) were performed during LGG and placebo phases of therapy. RESULTS: Twenty-one children (SBS, n = 9; control, n = 12) with a median age of 4.5 years (range 1.6-16.4 years) enrolled. Baseline IP measurements were similar in patients with SBS and control subjects: 0.08 ± 0.06 (mean ± SD) versus 0.07 ± 0.05 (P = 1.0). IP was correlated with age in control subjects (r = -0.83, P = 0.001) but not among patients with SBS (r = -0.55, P = 0.16). Fecal colonization with Lactobacillus species did not differ during LGG versus placebo therapy (median 1.4 × 10 cfu/g [range 4.0 × 10 to 4.0 × 10 cfu/g] vs 6.0 × 10 cfu/g [1.0 × 10 to 1.0 × 10 cfu/g], respectively; P = 0.83). LGG therapy had no consistent effects on IP (P = 0.58) or its relationship with age (r = -0.40, P = 0.29), and was associated with conversion to positive HBT results in 1 subject. CONCLUSIONS: In this sample of children with SBS, the IP was within normal limits but did not correlate with age. LGG therapy had no consistent effects on IP. These findings do not support empiric LGG therapy to enhance IP in children with SBS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Hydrogen breath test
  • Intestinal permeability
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactulose-to-mannitol ratio
  • Probiotics
  • Short bowel syndrome


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