Cellobiose/mannitol test: physiological properties of probe molecules and influence of extraneous factors

Clin Chim Acta. 1985 May 15;148(1):53-62. doi: 10.1016/0009-8981(85)90300-6.


The influence of gastric emptying, intestinal transit, renal and hepatic function, and variations in the timing of urine collections, on the cellobiose/mannitol test of intestinal permeability has been studied. None of these extraneous factors influences the cellobiose/mannitol recovery ratio, and there is only a modest effect of renal function on urinary mannitol recovery. Cellobiose is almost totally recovered in the urine within 10 h of intravenous injection, whilst mannitol is less completely recovered, perhaps due to hepatic metabolism. The simultaneous administration of two probe molecules in the cellobiose/mannitol test, and the use of a ratio to express results, thus achieves the desired object of minimising the effect of extraneous factors on the test result. The cellobiose/mannitol test is therefore not subject to the limitations of previous tests of intestinal permeability using orally administered probe molecules, and is widely applicable as a screening test for coeliac disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis*
  • Celiac Disease / physiopathology
  • Cellobiose* / metabolism
  • Cellobiose* / urine
  • Child
  • Disaccharides*
  • Gastric Emptying
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Liver Diseases / physiopathology
  • Mannitol* / metabolism
  • Mannitol* / urine


  • Disaccharides
  • Cellobiose
  • Mannitol