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Br J Nutr. 1980 Jul;44(1):99-112.

The degradation of nucleic acids in, and the removal of breakdown products from the small intestines of steers.


1. Nucleic acids and breakdown products were estimated in digesta taken from different sites in the small intestines of slaughtered steers given different diets. Amounts passing different sites were compared using cellulose as a non-digestible marker. The validity of this marker was checked with chromic oxide in some experiments. In other experiments, nucleic acids or derivatives were infused into the proximal duodenum of steers receiving diets of approximately equal proportions of flaked maize and hay. The amounts disappearing during passage through the small intestine were estimated using polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a non-absorbable marker. 2. In the slaughter experiments the amounts of nucleic acids entering the small intestine varied with the type of diet. RNA and DNA disappeared on average, to extents of 89% and 80% respectively between the abomasum and the terminal ileum, irrespective of the diet. RNA disappearance occurred almost entirely in the proximal quarter of the small intestine, whereas that of DNA extended further along the tract. 3. Nucleic acid degradation in the upper small intestine was accompanied by the transient appearance of adenosine, guanosine and pyrimidine nucleosides. These products were in greatest concentration in digesta from the first quarter of the small intestine and had generally completely disappeared by the terminal ileum. 4. Of the different substances infused into the smnall intestine, free nucleic acids were removed to extents greater than 97%, adenine, guanine and uracil had completely disappreaed, thymine and xanthine to approximately 80% and 95% and hypoxanthine and cytosine to only 51% and 48% respectively. The nucleosides adenosine and cytidine were also completely removed in the small intestine but were replaced, in part, by the catabolic products inosine plus hypoxanthine or cytosine respectively. Other nucleosides were removed to approximately half the extent of the correspoonding bases. 5. Serum and urine allantoin and uric acid levels were related to the amounts of purines entering the small intestines in free or bound form.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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