Increased gastrointestinal permeability and gut inflammation in children with functional abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome

J Pediatr. 2008 Nov;153(5):646-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.04.062. Epub 2008 Jun 9.


Objectives: To determine gastrointestinal (GI) permeability and fecal calprotectin concentration in children 7 to 10 years of age with functional abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome (FAP/IBS) versus control subjects and ascertain potential relationships with pain symptoms and stooling.

Study design: GI permeability and fecal calprotectin concentration were measured. Children kept a 2-week diary of pain episodes and stooling pattern.

Results: Proximal GI permeability was greater in the FAP/IBS group (n = 93) compared with control subjects (n = 52) (0.59 +/- 0.50 vs 0.36 +/- 0.26, respectively; mean +/- SD; P < .001) as was colonic permeability (1.01 +/- 0.67 vs 0.81 +/- 0.43, respectively; P < .05). Gastric and small intestinal permeability were similar. Fecal calprotectin concentration was greater in children with FAP/IBS compared with control children (65.5 +/- 75.4 microg/g stool vs 43.2 +/- 39.4, respectively; P < .01). Fecal calprotectin concentration correlated with pain interference with activities (P = .01, r(2) = 0.36). There was no correlation between GI permeability and pain related symptoms. Neither permeability nor fecal calprotectin correlated with stool form.

Conclusions: Children with FAP/IBS have evidence of increased GI permeability and low-grade GI inflammation, with the latter relating to the degree to which pain interferes with activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Permeability
  • Regression Analysis


  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex