Intestinal permeability and diabetes mellitus type 2

Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 1999 Sep;45(3):187-92.
[Article in English, Italian]


Background: Intestinal permeability can be investigated by means of molecular probes which are able to cross the intestinal wall through tight junctions of villi (smaller probes) and/or of crypts (larger probes). Intestinal permeability is altered in the majority of uncomplicated diabetes mellitus type 1 patients, due to the augmented absorption of the smaller probe. The aim of this work was to investigate if any similar alteration of intestinal permeability is present in diabetes mellitus type 2.

Methods: Intestinal permeability was studied by means of the Cellobiose/Mannitol test (CE/MA). The first and larger probe (Cellobiose) crosses tight junctions of crypts, the smaller (Mannitol) crosses those of villi. The CE/MA test was administered to 18 patients affected by diabetes mellitus type 2, with length of disease = 4.5+/-1.9 years (mean+/-SD) with no relevant intestinal pathologies. Results obtained in these 18 patients were compared with those of 25 healthy volunteers.

Results: Intestinal permeability to the CE/MA test was normal in all patients. All the investigated permeability parameters (%CE, %MA, CE/MA) overlapped, as a mean, with those of control subjects and were not statistically different.

Conclusions: The present data confirm that diabetes mellitus type 2 has not pathophysiological components at intestinal level. This is different from what was demonstrated in diabetes mellitus type 1, the last being very well known to be associated with autoimmune diseases and celiac disease.