Increase in human intestinal permeability following ingestion of hypertonic solutions

J Physiol. 1977 Mar;265(3):881-94. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1977.sp011750.


1. A simple oral loading technique involving the ingestion of solutions containing lactulose is described. Timed urinary excretion of lactulose, which is non-metabolizable, is used as an indicator of intestinal permeability, and measured by quantitative paper chromatography. 2. This technique has been used to investigate the intestinal permeability of apparently healthy adults following the ingestion of solutions made hypertonic by the addition of the solutes sucrose, glucose, mannitol, glycerol, urea and sodium chloride. 3. These experiments show that intestinal permeability to lactulose increases as the solute concentration in the ingested solution is increased. Susceptibility to this effect, though consistent for each individual, shows considerable variation between subjects. 4. Factors thought to be pernitent to the enhancement of intestinal permeability by hypertonic solutions, and some possible implications of this, are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Disaccharides / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertonic Solutions
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Lactulose / blood
  • Lactulose / urine*
  • Male
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic
  • Sucrose / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Urea


  • Disaccharides
  • Hypertonic Solutions
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic
  • Lactulose
  • Sucrose
  • Urea