Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut) Articles

The small intestine has the paradoxical dual function of being a digestive and absorptive organ for nutrients as well as a powerful barrier against the excessive absorption of bacteria, food antigens and large molecules. Increased permeability of the intestinal mucosal barrier can swell the number of toxins & antigens entering the bloodstream and lead to an overly sensitized immune system in some individuals. Decreased permeability, on the other hand, appears as a fundamental cause of malnutrition, malabsorption and failure to thrive. A number of clinical disorders are associated with both conditions.

The Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen by Cyrex Labs


Two decades ago, the assessment of Intestinal Permeability was done by measuring the leakage of a sugar molecule (lactulose) into the blood dtream. Since then, numerous studies have questioned the clinical relevance of this marker. IT is not measuring antigenic macromolecule passage, because passage of very small molecules such as sugar, lacks a capacity to challenge the immune system. Therefore, measurements of intestinal permeability to antigenic molecules are assessed not only against the triggers of intestinal barrier degradation such as bacterial endotoxins, but also against barrier structures occulin/zonulin and actomyosin, which represents both paracellular and transcellular pathways.

Therefore, macromolecular intestinal permeability, which stimulates an immune response, can be accurately measured by identifying either antibodies to antigenic molecules, which trigger intestinal barrier degradation such as bacterial endotoxins, or antibodies against the componets involved in the intestinal barrier degradation such as occudin/zonulin and actomyosin.

Elevated antibodies to LPS, (Lipopolysaccharides), Occuludin/Zonulin and the Actomyosin Network are patent pending biomarkers that identigy the breakdown of a healthy intestinal barrier, which allow penetration of large antigenic molecules.

1. LPS (Lipopolysaccharides) are large molecules found in gram-negative bacteria. They are endotoxins,mand if absorbed, elicit a strong immune response. The dection of antibodies against LPS reveals macromolecule-sized endotoxin infiltration through the intestinal barrier into the systemic circulation.

2. Occulin is part of the main component of proteins holding together the tight junctions. The detection of antibodies to occludin indicates that the tight junctions are breaking down. This is a measure of a mecanism involved in damaging the intestinal membrane.

3. Zonulin, a protein regulates the permeability of the intestine. The detection of antibodies against zonulin indicates that the normalregulation of tight junctions is compromised. This can be a clue to presence of an ongoing mechanism involved in damaging the inttestinal barier.

4. The Actomyosin Network, a protein complex, regulates intestinal barrier function by maintaining the plasticity of tight junctions. Antibodies to the actomyosyn network are a biomarker of intestinal barrier dysregulation via cell infiltration. For example,m 98.2% of Celiac disease patients with flat mucosa have antibodies to actin. This is a measure of mechanism involved in damaging the intestinal barrier.

Cyrex labs Antibody Array 2 Tests for assessment of intestinal barrier integrity measures antibodies against bacterial endotoxins (lipopolusaccharides), tight-junction proteins (occuluin, zonulin) and cell cytoskeleton (actomyosin), and identifies both transcellular and paracellular routes of intestinal penetration by large molecules with a capacity to challenge the immune system.

The information herein is not intended as diagnosis, treatment or a cure. Should you have a medical condition please seek the advice of your medical doctor.


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Teresa Rispoli has her Ph.D. in Nutrition, is a licensed Acupuncturist, Master Herbalist, Certified Functional Nutritionist, has a Doctorate in Naturopathy and is a clinical researcher, and Licensed Esthetician. She has been in practice for well over 27 years. It is through her clinical practice that she has gained insights into chronic health conditions. If you are suffering from unexplained symptoms that come and go you owe it to yourself to find out why. Find out today call for a Nutritional Consultation with Dr. Rispoli.

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