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Dig Dis Sci. 2001 Dec;46(12):2567-87.

Small bowel review: normal physiology part 1.

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Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


In the past year there have been many advances in the area of small bowel physiology and pathology and therapy. In preparation for this review, over 1500 papers were assessed. The focus is on presenting clinically useful information for the practising gastroenterologist. Selected important clinical learning points include the following: (1) glucose absorption mediated by SGLT1 is controlled by mRNA abundance, as well as by posttranscriptional processes including protein trafficking; (2) inducers of cytochrome P-450 decrease glucose and fructose absorption and increase glucose consumption in the intestine; (3) the regulated release of nutrients from the stomach into the upper intestine ensures that the modest intestinal transport reserve capacity is not exceeded; (4) hepatocyte growth factor and short-chain fatty acids may enhance intestinal adaptation and prevent the atrophy seen when total parenteral nutrition is infused; (5) inhibitors of pancreatic lipase and phospholipase H2 may be useful clinically to reduce absorption as part of a treatment program for obesity and hyperlipidemia; (6) several membrane-bound and cytosolic proteins have been identified in the enterocyte as well as in the hepatocyte and may be the target for the future therapeutic manipulation of bile acid metabolism and control of hyperlipidemia; (7) suspect bile acid malabsorption in the patient with otherwise unexplained chronic diarrhea; (8) a proportion of lipid absorption is protein-mediated, and this opens the way to targeting these proteins and thereby therapeutically modifying lipid absorption; (9) a high protein diet may be useful to increase the intestinal absorption of drugs transported by the H+/dipeptide cotransporter; (10) a metal transporter DCT1 has been identified, and this may open the way to a better understanding of disorders of, for example, iron and zinc metabolism; (11) the nutrient transporters such as SGLT1 are responsible for a portion of the intestinal absorption of water; (12) the influence of nitric oxide on intestinal water absorption and secretion depends on its concentration; (13) a trial of bile acid-sequestering agent may prove useful in the treatment of the patient who experiences diarrhea while taking an enteral diet; (14) a proteolytic extract from pineapple stems may prove to be useful to treat diarrhea, although the mechanism of this effect remains to be established; and (15) the antisecretory effect of the new peptide, sorbin, needs to be tested in a clinical situation on patients with diarrhea. Other new and promising antidiarrheal agents include bromelain, an extract from pineapple stems, and igmesine, a final sigma ligand.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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