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Gastroenterology. 1989 Nov;97(5):1193-204.

Repair of microvilli in the rat small intestine after damage with lectins contained in the red kidney bean.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.


That microvilli of intestinal absorptive cells in the duodenum and jejunum are disrupted by acute challenge with lectins contained in raw kidney beans (RKB) was shown nearly 10 yr ago by light microscopy. However, the precise morphologic damage produced by RKB has not been characterized, and it is not known whether microvilli, once damaged, undergo repair. We have examined these issues by challenging rats with suspensions of 300 mg of RKB, boiled beans, or standard laboratory chow by orogastric lavage. Microvillus length was measured in electron micrographs from 6 to 20 h after challenge. Epithelial cell migration was determined by autoradiography after injection of [3H]thymidine. After challenge with RKB, microvilli (a) showed extensive vesiculation along the length of villi 2-4 h after challenge; (b) were reduced significantly in length along the entire villus 6 h after challenge; and (c) were near normal in length by 20 h after challenge. Microvillus length was also reduced significantly 6 h after challenge with boiled beans. The rate of cell migration was not accelerated by treatment with RKB. These data suggest that damage to microvilli caused by 300 mg of RKB is self-limited and reversible; microvilli once damaged by RKB are repaired. Repair of microvilli is due to intrinsic reparative processes rather than accelerated replacement of damaged cells. We speculate that microvilli may be repeatedly damaged and repaired after ingestion of dietary lectins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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