Gastrointestinal permeability was compared in seventy-one women, forty-six allergic and twenty-five non-allergic according to case history, by measuring the 6-hr urinary recovery after an oral load of different-sized polyethyleneglycols (PEG 400 and PEG 1000). Further classification, atopic and non-atopic, was obtained by skin-prick tests to inhalant and food allergens in sixty-four of the seventy-one mothers. No significant differences were observed between allergic and non-allergic women, neither regarding the maximum recovery nor the recovery ratio between a large and a small molecule. The results do not lend support to the hypothesis of a persistently increased gut permeability in atopic subjects, which in turn could possibly imply an increased risk of intrauterine sensitization of the foetus of an atopic mother.
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