Effect of aging and caloric restriction on intestinal permeability

Thomas Y. Ma, Daniel Hollander, Violeta Dadufalza, Pavel Krugliak

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57 Scopus citations


Intestinal permeability is increased in several disorders such as Crohn's disease or rheumatoid arthritis. Since aging leads to alteration of many biological functions, the effect of aging on intestinal permeability was studied by measuring the intestinal permeability in aging rats gavaged with different size permeability probes- mannitol, polyethylene glycol (PEG) 400, and inulin. In rats fed with control diet, there was a significant increase in intestinal permeability to medium size probes PEG 400 (14.8 ± 0.4 and 21.0 ± 1.1% at 3 and 28 months respectively, p < .01) and mannitol (3.41 ± 0.4 and 5.3 ± 0.5% at 3 and 28 months, respectively, p < .01). Intestinal permeability of the large macromolecule inulin did not change (0.42 ± 0.03 and 0.38 ± 0.02% at 3 and 28 months, respectively) with aging. There was no correlation between weight of the rats and their intestinal permeability. Because dietary caloric restriction has been found to prolong the life span, retard deterioration of several biological functions, and affect intestinal absorptive functions, we examined the effect of lifelong calorie restriction on intestinal permeability changes. Lifelong calorie-restricted diet did not affect age-related change in intestinal permeability. We conclude that intestinal permeability of medium size probes increases with aging and that lifelong caloric restriction does not prevent this change. We speculate that age-associated deterioration in intestinal barrier functions could permit increased systemic absorption of lumenal antigens and could perhaps contribute to the genesis of antigen-related age-associated diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-333
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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