Cellobiose and lactulose coupled with mannitol and determined using ion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection, are reliable probes for investigation of intestinal permeability

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2003 Jan 15;783(2):349-57. doi: 10.1016/s1570-0232(02)00766-3.


Lactulose/mannitol and cellobiose/mannitol tests are currently used in the investigation of intestinal permeability (IP) in many gastrointestinal diseases. The aim of this study was to produce a good technique for the determination and comparison of the above-mentioned sugar probes to overcome the problem caused by the presence of significant glycosuria in patients affected by particular metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus. Tests were performed in 25 healthy volunteers, using either cellobiose (Ce) (5 g) and mannitol (Ma) (2 g), or lactulose (La) (5 g) and mannitol (2 g), given as oral isosmolar loads. Sugars were recovered in urine collected for 5 h. Analysis was carried out by using anion-exchange chromatography (AEC) with pulsed amperometric detection (PAD). Baseline separation of the above carbohydrates was achieved within 13 min by using a Carbopac PA-100 column and linear gradient elution. Carbohydrate quantification was performed by an internal standard method. The calibration curve for each sugar is linear to 40 mM. The limit of sugar detection is 0.01 mM. Recovery of sugar probes is between 98.2 and 100%. The %La, %Ce, %Ma in urine were evaluated and their ratios (Ce/Ma and La/Ma) were calculated. No significant difference in IP parameters were shown (La/Ma to Ce/Ma 0.018+/-0.014 vs. 0.012+/-0.007; the attendant probability of the null hypothesis being P=0.0714). Ce/Ma and/or La/Ma tests result similarly reliable in the clinical investigation of IP and the described new method is also helpful in urine even with high glucose concentration, without any interference.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cellobiose / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange / methods*
  • Electrochemistry / methods*
  • Female
  • Glucose / analysis
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Lactulose / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Permeability
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Cellobiose
  • Lactulose
  • Glucose