Gastrointestinal permeability was investigated in twenty-two children on two occasions, before and after treatment with sodium cromoglycate. The children were between 8 and 10 years old; half of them were classified as allergic according to history and laboratory tests, and half of them as healthy. The 6-hr urinary recovery of different-sized polyethyleneglycols (PEG 400 and PEG 1000) in combination with a mathematical model was used to assess the intestinal permeability barrier.
No significant differences were seen in the first PEG test between healthy and allergic children, although those with gastrointestinal allergy showed a slightly lower, and those with other allergies a slightly higher recovery of the smaller PEGs than seen in the healthy individuals. After treatment with sodium cromoglycate. however, there was a significant decrease in uptake by allergic children, which could indicate that the permeability properties had returned to normal.
The PEG method offers a simple, harmless and reproducible method to measure intestinal permeability properties. The change in permeability observed after sodium cromoglycate corresponds well with the clinical experience of usefulness of the drug in some children with food allergy.
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