There is increasing evidence suggesting a role of intestinal dysfunction in a number of autoimmune diseases. Primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) is a systemic autoimmune disease with a documented increased level of intestinal inflammation, whereas multiple sclerosis (MS) is an organ-specific autoimmune disease known to exhibit increased intestinal permeability. In this study we determine to what extent intestinal inflammation, analysed by a faecal calprotectin ELISA, is accompanied by altered intestinal wall permeability, as measured by a lactulose and mannitol intestinal absorption assay. Intestinal permeability was increased in both pSS and MS patients, while faecal calprotectin was elevated in pSS but normal in MS. Our findings suggest different mechanisms mediating a leaky gut in these two diseases: in pSS there is autoimmune attack directly on the intestinal wall; in MS, with autoimmunity being limited to the CNS, it may be due to a disturbed CNS regulation of enteric nerve function.
Keywords: Faecal calprotectin; Intestinal permeability; Lactulose/mannitol ratio; Multiple sclerosis; Primary Sjögren’s syndrome.
© 2021 The Authors.