Author(s): de Magistris L, Familiari V, Pascotto A, Sapone A, Frolli A,
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: Intestinal permeability (IPT) was investigated in patients with autism as well as in their first-degree relatives to investigate leaky gut hypothesis. Faecal calprotectin (FC) was also measured in patients with autism, either with or without gastrointestinal symptoms, and in their first-degree relatives. PATIENTS AND METHODS: IPT results, assessed by means of the lactulose/mannitol test, were compared with adult and child controls and with FC values. RESULTS: A high percentage of abnormal IPT values were found among patients with autism (36.7\%) and their relatives (21.2\%) compared with normal subjects (4.8\%). Patients with autism on a reported gluten-casein-free diet had significantly lower IPT values compared with those who were on an unrestricted diet and controls. Gastrointestinal symptoms were present in 46.7\% of children with autism: constipation (45.5\%), diarrhoea (34.1\%), and others (alternating diarrhoea/constipation, abdominal pain, etc: 15.9\%). FC was elevated in 24.4\% of patients with autism and in 11.6\% of their relatives; it was not, however, correlated with abnormal IPT values. CONCLUSIONS: The results obtained support the leaky gut hypothesis and indicate that measuring IPT could help to identify a subgroup of patients with autism who could benefit from a gluten-free diet. The IPT alterations found in first-degree relatives suggest the presence of an intestinal (tight-junction linked) hereditary factor in the families of subjects with autism.
This article was published in J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine