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Gastroenterology. 1996 Apr;110(4):991-8.

Folate synthesized by bacteria in the human upper small intestine is assimilated by the host.

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  • 1University Hospital de Santa Maria, Servico de Medicina 2, Lisbon, Portugal.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

Some intestinal flora are known to synthesize folate. The aim of this study was to determine whether folate synthesized by small intestinal flora is assimilated by the human host.

METHODS:

Subjects with atrophic gastritis and healthy volunteers were studied before and after omeprazole administration. A double-lumen perfusion tube was placed in the duodenum. 3H-labeled P-aminobenzoic acid, a precursor substrate for bacterial folate synthesis, was perfused. Downstream intestinal aspirates and a 48-hour urine collection were obtained.

RESULTS:

Atrophic gastritis and omeprazole administration were associated with increases in duodenal pH and in small intestinal flora. Bacterially synthesized folates were isolated from the intestinal aspirates. Tritiated 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, a major metabolite of folate, was isolated from the urine of omeprazole-treated subjects in greater quantities than from drug-free subjects (P<0.01); the quantity of tritiated 5-methyltetrahydrofolate in the urine of the subjects with atrophic gastritis was similarly elevated.

CONCLUSIONS:

(1) Mild bacterial overgrowth caused by atrophic gastritis and administration of omeprazole are associated with de novo folate synthesis in the lumen of the small intestine; (2) the human host absorbs and uses some of these folates; and (3) the contribution to folate nutriture from this source remains unclear.

PMID:
8613033
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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