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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2013 Nov;305(9):G601-10. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00231.2013. Epub 2013 Aug 29.

Recent advances in transport of water-soluble vitamins in organs of the digestive system: a focus on the colon and the pancreas.

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VA Medical Center-151, Long Beach, CA 90822.


This review focuses on recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms and regulation of water-soluble vitamin (WSV) transport in the large intestine and pancreas, two important organs of the digestive system that have only recently received their fair share of attention. WSV, a group of structurally unrelated compounds, are essential for normal cell function and development and, thus, for overall health and survival of the organism. Humans cannot synthesize WSV endogenously; rather, WSV are obtained from exogenous sources via intestinal absorption. The intestine is exposed to two sources of WSV: a dietary source and a bacterial source (i.e., WSV generated by the large intestinal microbiota). Contribution of the latter source to human nutrition/health has been a subject of debate and doubt, mostly based on the absence of specialized systems for efficient uptake of WSV in the large intestine. However, recent studies utilizing a variety of human and animal colon preparations clearly demonstrate that such systems do exist in the large intestine. This has provided strong support for the idea that the microbiota-generated WSV are of nutritional value to the host, and especially to the nutritional needs of the local colonocytes and their health. In the pancreas, WSV are essential for normal metabolic activities of all its cell types and for its exocrine and endocrine functions. Significant progress has also been made in understanding the mechanisms involved in the uptake of WSV and the effect of chronic alcohol exposure on the uptake processes.


biotin; colon; folate; niacin; pancreas; pyridoxine; riboflavin; thiamine; transport

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