- 51Cr-EDTA was administered both orally and per rectum via a catheter to controls and to patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The patients were divided into two groups, either with active inflammation of the small bowel or with active inflammation of the colon. Fifteen patients with Crohn's disease of the small bowel and 19 patients with either Crohn's disease of the colon or ulcerative colitis were investigated. After oral administration of the probe, controls showed a median excretion of 1.17%/24 h of the dose compared to 3.47%/24 h by patients with small bowel disease and 6.07%/24 h by patients with colonic disease. After rectal administration, controls showed a median excretion of 0.74%/24 h of the dose compared to 0.93%/24 h by patients with small bowel disease and 5.73%/24 h by patients with colonic disease. The rectal test differentiated small bowel disease from colonic disease with an accuracy of 85%. The results confirmed the inflamed colon as a site of increased intestinal permeation.