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J Nutr. 1991 Apr;121(4):498-503.

Ileal compensation for age-dependent loss of jejunal function in rats.

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  • 1Unité de Biologie Cellulaire et de Physiopathologie Digestives, INSERM Unité 61, Strasbourg, France.


Adaptive responses of brush border hydrolases and crypt cell proliferation were measured in the jejunum and ileum of 4-mo-old adult and 28-mo-old senescent male Wistar rats. Responses were measured after rats were deprived of food and then refed with a normoprotein diet (17% protein) or an isoenergetic high protein diet (70% protein). The young rats deprived of food then refed for 18 h with the high protein diet showed better body weight recovery than did old animals. Withholding food for 48 h induced a more pronounced drop of sucrase activity in the intestine of the old rats relative to young rats. Refeeding the high protein diet caused a better recovery of sucrase activity in the jejunum of young rats relative to senescent rats. In the aged animals, sucrase activity in the jejunum remained significantly lower after refeeding both diets. Compared with nourished controls, aged rats showed enzyme activity to be completely restored in the ileum. The high protein diet increased aminopeptidase activity in the jejunum and ileum of young rats, in contrast to the senescent rats in which the increase of enzyme activity was restricted to the ileum. In the jejunum of aged rats, the cell migration rate from crypt base to villus tip was reduced after refeeding, but no age-related changes were observed in the ileum. Our results indicate that the jejunum of senescent rats exhibits reduced adaptive capacities that may be partly compensated by enhanced ileal functions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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