The sensitivity of the lactulose/rhamnose gut permeability test.

M.A. van Nieuwenhoven*, B.J. Geerling, N.E.P. Deutz, F.J.P.H. Brouns, R.J.M. Brummer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands. [email protected]

BACKGROUND: The lactulose/rhamnose (L/R) intestinal permeability test is widely used. However, different quantities and proportions of lactulose and rhamnose are used. The aim of this study was to determine whether a low dosage of lactulose is able to discriminate between normal and increased permeability. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two groups of 10 healthy subjects were studied. In group 1, three different iso-osmolar test solutions were administered on 3 days. The solutions consisted of 10 g of L with 1 g of R, 5 g of L with 0.5 g of R and 1 g of L with 0.1 g of R in 65 mL of water. Group 2 ingested these solutions 1 h after ingestion of 750 mg of chenodeoxycholeic acid (CDCA), which is known to increase permeability. The urinary L/R ratio was determined using high-performance liquid chromatography. Data are presented as medians (range). RESULTS: In group 1, no differences were observed between the three solutions. In Group 2, there was a significant difference (P = 0.045) between the three solutions. The L/R ratios were 0.0079 (0.0024-0.0152) (1L to 0.1R), 0.0138 (0.0066-0.0192) (5L to 0.5R) and 0.0144 (0.0074-0.0374) (10L to 1R). The L/R ratio differed significantly between Groups 1 and 2 (P < 0.001) using the 5L to 0.5R and 10L to 1R solutions respectively. CONCLUSION: If the permeability is increased, the urinary L/R ratio depends on the quantity of lactulose and rhamnose administered in equal proportion. 5L to 0.5R is sufficient to discriminate between a normal and a moderately increased permeability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-165
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


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