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Lipids. 1976 Dec;11(12):830-2.

Lecithin inhibits fatty acid and bile salt absorption from rat small intestine in vivo.


During digestion of a fatty meal, long chain free fatty acids (FFA) and lecithin are among the lipids solubilized in intestinal contents as mixed micelles with bile salts. We hypothesized that if lecithin were not hydrolyzed, the mixed micelles would be abnormal, and absorption of FFA and bile salts would be depressed. To test this hypothesis, isolated segments of rat small intestine were infused in vivo with micellar solutions of 2 mMolar linoleic acid and 10 mMolar taurocholate to which was added 3 mMolar 1-palmitoyl, 2-oleoyl lecithin (a common lecithin in bile and food), or 1-palmitoyl lysolecithin (the hydrolytic product of lecithin). Absorption of FFA and bile salt was measured under steady state conditions using a single-pass technique. Lecithin depressed the rate of FFA absorption by 40% (p less than 0.025) in jejunal and ileal segments whereas lysolecithin was associated with normal rates of FFA absorption. Lecithin also reduced taurocholate absorption from the ileum by 30% (p less than 0.05). These data support the idea that lecithin may depress FFA and bile salt absorption from the small intestine in pancreatic insufficiency.

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