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PLoS One. 2010 Apr 29;5(4):e10380. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010380.

Fatty acid- and cholesterol transporter protein expression along the human intestinal tract.

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  • 1Department of Human Biology, NUTRIM School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands.



Protein distribution profiles along the human intestinal tract of transporters involved in the absorption of cholesterol and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) have been scarcely evaluated.


In post-mortem samples from 11 subjects, intestinal transporter distribution profiles were determined via Western Blot. Differences in transporter protein levels were statistically tested using ANOVA and Tukey's Post Hoc comparisons. Levels in all segments were expressed relative to those in duodenum. Except for ABCG5 and FATP4, levels (mean+/-SEM) were the highest in the ileum. For ABCA1, ileal levels (1.80+/-0.26) differed significantly from those in duodenum (P = 0.049) and proximal colon (0.92+/-0.14; P = 0.029). ABCG8 levels in ileum (1.91+/-0.30) differed from those in duodenum (P = 0.041) and distal colon (0.84+/-0.22; P = 0.010) and jejunum (1.64+/-0.26) tended to be higher than distal colon (0.84+/-0.22; P = 0.087). Ileal NPC1L1 levels (2.56+/-0.51) differed from duodenum levels (P = 0.019) and from distal colon (1.09+/-0.22; P = 0.030). There was also a trend (P = 0.098) for higher jejunal (2.23+/-0.37) than duodenal NPC1L1 levels. The levels of ABCG5 did not correlate with those of ABCG8. FAT/CD36 levels in ileum (2.03+/-0.42) differed from those in duodenum (P = 0.017), and proximal and distal colon (0.89+/-0.13 and 0.97+/-0.15 respectively; P = 0.011 and P = 0.014). FABPpm levels in ileum (1.04+/-0.13) differed from proximal (0.64+/-0.07; P = 0.026) and distal colon (0.66+/-0.09; P = 0.037).


The distribution profiles showed a bell-shape pattern along the GI-tract with the highest levels in ileum for ABCA1, ABCG8, NPC1L1, FATCD36 and FABPm, suggesting a prominent role for ileum in transporter-mediated uptake of cholesterol and LCFAs.

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