The effect of elemental diet on intestinal permeability and inflammation in Crohn's disease.
Gastroenterology. 1991 Jul;101(1):84-9. PMID: 1904381
Section of Gastroenterology, Medical Research Council Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, Middlesex, England.
This study examines whether treatment of acute Crohn's disease with an elemental diet improves intestinal integrity and inflammation as assessed by a 51Cr-labeled ethylenediaminetetraacetatic acid (EDTA) permeability test and the fecal excretion of 111In-labeled autologous leukocytes, respectively. Thirty-four patients with active Crohn's disease completed a 4-week treatment course with an elemental diet. Active disease was characterized by increased intestinal permeability [24-hour urine excretion of orally administered 51Cr-EDTA, 6.4% +/- 0.6% (mean +/- SE); normal, less than 3.0%] and by high fecal excretion of 111In-labeled leukocytes (14.2% +/- 1.1%; normal, less than 1.0%). Twenty-seven (80%) went into clinical remission, usually within a week of starting treatment. After 4 weeks of treatment, there was a significant decrease in both the urine excretion of 51Cr-EDTA (to 3.4% +/- 0.5%; P less than 0.01) and the fecal excretion of 111In (to 5.7% +/- 1.0%; P less than 0.001), indicating that such treatment is not just symptomatic. A framework for the mechanism by which elemental diet works, centering around the importance of the integrity of the intestinal barrier function, is proposed, and also appears to provide a logical explanation for some relapses of the disease.