Increased intestinal permeability has an important role in metabolic dysregulation. In this cross-sectional study, we examined whether serum intestinal permeability marker zonulin and related pro-inflammatory molecules were associated with the oral disposition index, a predictor for the development of type 2 diabetes, in a cohort of children and adolescents with overweight and obesity. Ninety-two children and adolescents were recruited [Male: 43; 12.7 (2.35) years; BMI SDS: 2.7 (0.96)]. Anthropometric and clinical parameters, lipid profile, glucose metabolism and plasma levels of zonulin, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein and Interleukin-6 were measured. We found an association between oral disposition index and zonulin (beta = -0.243; p = 0.019) and age (beta = -0.307; p = 0.004), independent of sex and BMI SDS [R-2 = 0.16; p = 0.005]. Our results show an association between serum zonulin concentration and oral disposition index supporting the hypothesis of increased intestinal permeability as a possible risk factor for glucose metabolism dysregulation in children and adolescents with obesity.
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