Intestinal fatty acid-binding protein and gut permeability responses to exercise

Daniel S. March, Tania Marchbank, Raymond J. Playford, Arwel W. Jones, Rhys Thatcher, Glen Davison

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Intestinal cell damage due to physiological stressors (e.g. heat, oxidative, hypoperfusion/ischaemic) may contribute to increased intestinal permeability. The aim of this study was to assess changes in plasma intestinal fatty acid-binding protein (I-FABP) in response to exercise (with bovine colostrum supplementation, Col, positive control) and compare this to intestinal barrier integrity/permeability (5 h urinary lactulose/rhamnose ratio, L/R). Methods: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, 18 males completed two experimental arms (14 days of 20 g/day supplementation with Col or placebo, Plac). For each arm participants performed two baseline (resting) intestinal permeability assessments (L/R) pre-supplementation and one post-exercise following supplementation. Blood samples were collected pre- and post-exercise to determine I-FABP concentration. Results: Two-way repeated measures ANOVA revealed an arm × time interaction for L/R and I-FABP (P < 0.001). Post hoc analyses showed urinary L/R increased post-exercise in Plac (273% of pre, P < 0.001) and Col (148% of pre, P < 0.001) with post-exercise values significantly lower with Col (P < 0.001). Plasma I-FABP increased post-exercise in Plac (191% of pre-exercise, P = 0.002) but not in the Col arm (107%, P = 0.862) with post-exercise values significantly lower with Col (P = 0.013). Correlations between the increase in I-FABP and L/R were evident for visit one (P = 0.044) but not visit two (P = 0.200) although overall plots/patterns do appear similar for each. Conclusion: These findings suggest that exercise-induced intestinal cellular damage/injury is partly implicated in changes in permeability but other factors must also contribute.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-941
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Bovine colostrum
  • Cell damage
  • Cellular injury
  • Core temperature
  • Intestinal permeability
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Urinary L/R

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