Assessing intestinal permeability in Crohn's disease patients using orally administered 52Cr-EDTA

von Martels, J. Z. H., Bourgonje, A. R., Harmsen, H. J. M., Faber, K. N. & Dijkstra, G., 7-Feb-2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 2, 14 p., e0211973.

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BACKGROUND: Intestinal permeability can be assessed by monitoring renal excretion of orally administered radioactively 51Cr-labeled ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (51Cr-EDTA). Although considered safe, patient participation in using radio-labeled tracers is low. Here, we used orally administered 52Cr-EDTA as non-radioactive alternative to assess intestinal permeability in CD and analyzed the association with disease activity, disease location and gut microbial dysbiosis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: 60 CD patients with low (n = 25) and increased (n = 35) fecal calprotectin levels (cut-off: 100 µg/g feces) ingested 20 mL 52Cr-EDTA (20 mmol/L) solution whereafter 24-h urine was collected. Urinary 52Cr-EDTA concentrations were quantified using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). Fecal Enterobacteriaceae and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii were quantified using FISH. Correlations between urinary 52Cr-EDTA excretion and other parameters were established using nonparametric Spearman’s correlation coefficients (ρ).

RESULTS: CD patients with increased fecal calprotectin levels (> 100 µg/g) demonstrated an elevated urinary 52Cr-EDTA/creatinine ratio (772 vs. 636 μmol/mol, P = 0.132). Patients with primarily colonic disease showed the highest 52Cr-EDTA excretion. Importantly, a positive correlation was observed for the urinary 52Cr-EDTA/creatinine ratio and fecal calprotectin levels (ρ = 0.325, P < 0.05). Finally, urinary 52Cr-EDTA/creatinine ratio negatively correlated with the relative abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (ρ = -0.221, P = 0.092), while positively correlating with Enterobacteriaceae (ρ = 0.202, P = 0.126).

CONCLUSIONS: Orally administered and renal excreted 52Cr-EDTA may be used to assess intestinal permeability in CD and correlates with fecal calprotectin levels and bacterial species relevant to CD. This test may improve non-invasive detection of disease exacerbations and help monitor disease activity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0211973
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7-Feb-2019


  • Crohn's disease, Intestinal permeability, Cr-EDTA

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