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Br J Surg. 1995 Jan;82(1):36-8.

Butyrate metabolism in the terminal ileal mucosa of patients with ulcerative colitis.

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Academic Department of Surgery, London Hospital Medical College, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, UK.


The rate of oxidation of butyrate, glutamine and glucose was investigated in terminal ileal mucosal biopsy samples from nine patients with ulcerative colitis undergoing restorative proctocolectomy and from 12 patients undergoing laparotomy for reasons other than ulcerative colitis. Substrate oxidation was assayed using a radiolabelled isotope technique. Butyrate was the preferred fuel substrate, followed by glutamine and then glucose (median (95 per cent confidence interval) 567 (262-894), 63 (35-123) and 8.1 (5.1-18) pmol micrograms-1 h-1 respectively; P < 0.01, Mann-Whitney U test) in normal terminal ileal mucosa. The patients with ulcerative colitis had a significantly reduced rate of butyrate oxidation compared with the control group (194 (81-321) versus 567 (262-894) pmol micrograms-1 h-1, P < 0.05). Normal terminal ileal mucosa oxidized butyrate in greater quantities than glucose and glutamine. Ulcerative colitic terminal ileal mucosa exhibited an impaired rate of butyrate oxidation.

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