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J Membr Biol. 2005 Oct;207(3):183-95.

Jejunal creatine absorption: what is the role of the basolateral membrane?

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Biomolecolari e Biotecnologie, Universit√° di Milano, via Celoria 26, I-20133 Milano, Italy.


The mechanism of the intestinal creatine absorption is not well understood. Previous studies have established the involvement of a CT1 carrier system in jejunal apical membrane. The current research was aimed at completing the picture of creatine absorption. To investigate the process supporting creatine exit from enterocyte, basolateral membrane vesicles isolated from rat jejunum were used. The presence of various symport and antiport mechanisms was searched and a NaCl-dependent electrogenic transport system for creatine was evidenced, which shares some functional and kinetic features with the apical CT1. However, Western blot and immunohistochemical experiments ruled out the presence of a CT1 transporter in the basolateral membrane. Further studies are required to identify the basolateral transport mechanism. However, in the in vivo conditions, the NaCl gradient is inwardly directed, therefore such a mechanism cannot energetically mediate the exit of creatine from the cell into the blood during the absorptive process, but rather it may drive creatine into the enterocyte. To shed more light on the creatine absorption process, a possible creatine movement through the paracellular pathway has been examined using the jejunal tract everted and incubated in vitro. A linear relationship between creatine transport and concentration was apparent both in the mucosa-to-serosa and serosa-to-mucosa directions and the difference between the two slopes suggests that paracellular creatine movement by solvent drag may account for transintestinal creatine absorption. As a matter of fact, when transepithelial water flux is reduced by means of a mucosal hypertonic solution, the opposite creatine fluxes tend to overlap. The findings of the present study suggest that paracellular creatine movement by solvent drag may account for transintestinal creatine absorption.

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