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J Physiol. 2002 Jul 15;542(Pt 2):493-500.

Loads, capacities and safety factors of maltase and the glucose transporter SGLT1 in mouse intestinal brush border.

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Department of Physiology, University of California Medical School, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1751, USA.


Safety factors are defined as ratios of biological capacities to prevailing natural loads. We measured the safety factor of the mouse intestinal brush-border hydrolase maltase in series with the glucose transporter SGLT1, for comparison with previous studies of sucrase and lactase. Dietary maltose loads increased 4-fold from virgin to lactating mice. As in previous studies of intestinal adaptive regulation, that increase in load without change in dietary composition resulted in an increase in maltase and SGLT1 capacities mediated non-specifically by an increase in intestinal mass, without change in maltase or SGLT1 activities per milligram of tissue. Maltase and SGLT1 capacities increased only sublinearly with load during lactation, such that safety factors decreased with load: from 6.5 to 2.4 for maltase, and from 1.1 to 0.5 for SGLT1. The apparently high safety factor for maltase may be related to the multiple natural substrates hydrolysed by the multiple sites of maltase activity. The apparently low safety factor for SGLT1 is made possible by the contribution of hindgut fermentation to carbohydrate digestion. SGLT1 activity is paradoxically higher for mice consuming sucrose than for mice consuming maltose, despite maltose hydrolysis yielding double the glucose load yielded by sucrose hydrolysis, and despite glucose constituting the load upon SGLT1.

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