Alterations in Intestinal Permeability: The Role of the "Leaky Gut" in Health and Disease

Presented as part of the KEMTalk Series on January 19, 2018, by Dr. Liara Gonzalez, Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology and Equine Surgery at North Carolina State University.

Dr. Gonzalez is a veterinarian, specially trained in large animal surgery, with a clinical and research focus on intestinal disease. Dr. Gonzalez's research has been aimed at developing and utilizing large animal models to translate lab bench findings into clinically relevant, therapeutic interventions to benefit both human and veterinary patients. She is particularly interested in identifying improved means of determining tissue viability following sever intestinal injury, as well as studying the role of intestinal stem cells in modulating mucosal barrier repair follow ischemic damage. To date, much of her research has helped develop the techniques necessary to utilize porcine tissue for the study of intestinal stem cells that includes porcine crypt isolation and 3D culture. Dr. Gonzalez hopes to apply her knowledge and expertise in advanced laboratory techniques to solve clinically significant problems and future elucidate therapeutic targets to ultimately improve patient survival.

Q&A Breakout

Question 1: I understand the intestinal consequences of leaky gut syndrome. Can you comment on the potential systemic effects of leaky gut beyond the GI tract, i.e. auto immune disease, allergies, poor performance, respiratory challenges, etc.?

 

Question 2: Is there a risk of migration of the organisms in probiotics?

 

Question 3: We treat a lot of hospitalized medical colics here. Just to make sure I am interpreting right, do you see a potential for using butyrate, glutamine, etc., in hospitalized cases to try to improve outcome when surgery is not an option?

 

Question 4: What section of the equine GI tract do you feel is most susceptible to leaky gut?

 

Question 5: When presented with a chronic diarrhea case, what is your preferred initial treatment and what do you do if your initial approach is unsuccessful?

 

Question 6: With respect to supporting non-drug therapy, have you seen any benefit to the supplementation of Omega-3 fatty acids (specifically EPA and DHA), and/or probiotics?

 

Question 7: I hear a lot about chronic leaky gut in humans. Are there cases where it is "cured" or is it, at most, just "controlled?"

 

Question 8: In your opinion, could leaky gut be an early trigger for laminitis?

 

Question 9: In addition, if a supplement of butyrate or glutamine is offered, in what reasonable timeframe would you expect to see improvement?

 

Question 10: In your experience, is gut health issues found in high performance horses or leisurely horses?

 

Question 11: Can probiotics be harmful if they are the wrong ones?

 

Question 12: In those horses that have increased fecal water and diarrhea but pass formed stools - why does metronidazole help, or what do you think of it?

 

Question 13: I am afraid to supplement with probiotics, because maybe it would cause a greater imbalance of normal gut flora since we don't have fecal results of gut flora imbalance first. What are your thoughts?

 

Question 14: Can you comment on the prevalence of leaky gut in horses?

 

Question 15: What supplements provide butyrate and what's the dose?

 

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