Repeatability of the sugar-absorption test, using lactulose and mannitol, for measuring intestinal permeability for sugars

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1995 Feb;20(2):184-8. doi: 10.1097/00005176-199502000-00008.


Differential sugar-absorption tests for measuring intestinal permeability for sugars have been studied in a variety of gastrointestinal diseases. Their use in general practice has been hampered by a lack of data on reference values and repeatability of the test and the laboratory assay. In this study, we determined the reference values of the sugar-absorption test, using lactulose and mannitol as probe molecules, for children and adults. The repeatability of the test is good; linear relationship: slope, 0.825 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.571, 1.152); intercept, 0.005 (95% CI, -0.004, 0.010). The repeatability of the laboratory assay for the sugar-absorption test is excellent; linear relationship: slope, 1.014 (95% CI, 0.870, 1.094); intercept, 0.002 (95% CI, -0.005, 0.010). The validation of the sugar-absorption test makes the test useful as a simple, noninvasive, reliable intestinal permeability test for sugars, which can be of use for clinical practice. Taking possible interfering factors into account, the sugar-absorption test can be used as a diagnostic test for enteropathy of different etiologies and evaluation of therapeutic interventions in both children and adults. Studies with the sugar-absorption test may clarify the role of intestinal permeability in the pathophysiology of a variety of gastrointestinal diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Celiac Disease / metabolism
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Lactulose / metabolism*
  • Lactulose / urine
  • Male
  • Mannitol / metabolism*
  • Mannitol / urine
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sucrose / metabolism
  • Sucrose / urine


  • Mannitol
  • Lactulose
  • Sucrose