Dietary calcium decreases but short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides increase colonic permeability in rats

M.A.A. Schepens, A. Rijnierse, A.J. Schonewille, C. Vink, R.J. Brummer, L. E. Willemsen, R. van der Meer, I.M. Bovee Oudenhoven*

*Corresponding author for this work

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An increased intestinal permeability is associated with several diseases. Nutrition can influence gut permeability. Previously, we showed that dietary Ca decreases whereas dietary short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scFOS) increase intestinal permeability in rats. However, it is unknown how and where in the gastrointestinal tract Ca and scFOS exert their effects. Rats were fed a Western low-Ca control diet, or a similar diet supplemented with either Ca or scFOS. Lactulose plus mannitol and Cr-EDTA were added to the diets to quantify small and total gastrointestinal permeability, respectively. Additionally, colonic tissue was mounted in Ussing chambers and exposed to faecal water of these rats. Dietary Ca immediately decreased urinary Cr-EDTA excretion by 24 % in Ca-fed rats compared with control rats. Dietary scFOS increased total Cr-EDTA permeability gradually with time, likely reflecting relatively slow gut microbiota adaptations, which finally resulted in a 30 % increase. The lactulose:mannitol ratio was 15 % higher for Ca-fed rats and 16 % lower for scFOS-fed rats compared with control rats. However, no dietary effect was present on individual urinary lactulose and mannitol excretion. The faecal waters did not influence colonic permeability in Ussing chambers. In conclusion, despite effects on the lactulose:mannitol ratio, individual lactulose values did not alter, indicating that diet did not influence small-intestinal permeability. Therefore, both nutrients affect permeability only in the colon: Ca decreases, while scFOS increase colonic permeability. As faecal water did not influence permeability in Ussing chambers, probably modulation of mucins and/or microbiota is important for the in vivo effects of dietary Ca and scFOS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1780-1786
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Calcium
  • Short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides
  • Intestinal permeability
  • Diet

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