Pathogenesis of tropical sprue: a pilot study of antroduodenal manometry, duodenocaecal transit time & fat-induced ileal brake

Indian J Med Res. 2013 Jan;137(1):63-72.


Background & objectives: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) due to ileal brake-induced hypomotility may cause tropical sprue (TS). We evaluated effect of infusion of fat or placebo in duodenum randomly in patients with TS and healthy controls on antroduodenal manometry (ADM) and mediators of ileal brake, and duodenocaecal transit time (DCTT).

Methods: ADM and DCTT (lactulose hydrogen breath test, HBT) were evaluated with placebo and fat in eight controls and 13 patients with TS (diagnostic criteria: tests showing malabsorption of two unrelated substances, abnormal duodenal histology, absence of other causes, response to antibiotics and folate).

Results: Patients with TS (6 had SIBO by glucose HBT) were similar in age and gender with controls. After fat infusion, proximal gut motility index (MI) was reduced compared to fasting state in TS, and DCTT was longer in TS than controls (200 min, 120-380 vs. 130, 70-160, P=0.001), though comparable after placebo (70 min, 30-140 vs. 60, 40-90). TS patients had higher PYY and neurotensin than controls after fat infusion. DCTT after fat infusion correlated with plasma level of PYY in TS but not in controls. Post-fat PYY and neurotensin levels were higher in TS with lower BMI (<16 kg/m [2] ) than those with higher BMI. Parameters of ileal brake (post-fat DCTT, PYY and neurotensin) were higher in patients with than without SIBO.

Interpretation & conclusions: Fat infusion reduced proximal gut MI, increased DCTT, PYY, and neurotensin among patients with TS. Malabsorbed fat might cause exaggerated ileal brake reducing gut motility, promoting SIBO and bacterial colonization and malabsorption in TS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Duodenitis / microbiology
  • Duodenitis / physiopathology
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Transit
  • Humans
  • Ileum / microbiology
  • Ileum / physiopathology*
  • Intestine, Small / microbiology
  • Intestine, Small / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurotensin / administration & dosage
  • Peptide YY / administration & dosage
  • Sprue, Tropical / drug therapy*
  • Sprue, Tropical / microbiology
  • Sprue, Tropical / physiopathology*


  • Peptide YY
  • Neurotensin