Prebiotic ingestion does not improve gastrointestinal barrier function in burn patients
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Prebiotics increase intestinal levels of health-promoting bacteria implicated in decreasing pathogen colonization, stimulating immune functions and stabilizing gut barrier functions, parameters which are altered in burn patients. We propose that regular intake of a prebiotic, oligofructose (OF). might help to improve the altered gastrointestinal (GI) permeability observed in burn patients. A randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial was carried out in 41 burn patients (mean burn surface area = 17.1 +/- 8.2%) who ingested daily 6 g of oligofructose (OF group) or sucrose as placebo (Control group) during 15 days. Gastrointestinal permeability to sucrose and lactulose/mannitol (L/M) was evaluated on days 1 (before treatment) 3. 7. 14 and 21. A permeability test was also performed in 18 healthy subjects as controls. Thirty-one patients completed the protocol (dropout rate = 24.4%). Healthy subjects had a basal sucrose excretion of 21.3 mg (14.0-32.5 mg) and a basal L/M ratio of 0.017% (0.009-0.022%). Sucrose excretion increased 5-fold and L/M ratio 4.4-fold in burn patients on day 1 and these high levels of marker excretion decreased significantly throughout the study (p = 0.016 and 0.000001, respectively), No differences between the OF and Control groups were observed for Sucrose excretion or L/M ratio. In conclusion. the normalization of gastrointestinal permeability is not accelerated by prebiotic intake.