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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1994 Apr 20;1191(1):197-204.

Crypt cell production rate, enterocyte turnover time and appearance of transport along the jejunal villus of the rat.

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Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Intestinal nutrient absorption is subject to adaptation with, for example, diabetes, diet lipid variations (isocaloric semisynthetic diets enriched with saturated (S) or polyunsaturated (P) fatty acids), ileal resection and abdominal irradiation. These models were used in rats to assess dynamic morphology and distribution of amino acid transporter along the villus. The enterocyte migration rate (EMR) was measured using [3H]thymidine; the vincristine metaphase arrest technique was used to determine the crypt cell production rate (CCPR); quantitative autoradiography was used to assess the time and age of enterocytes when the uptake of 1 and 20 mM [3H]leucine and [3H]lysine was initiated along the villus. The enhanced jejunal uptake of nutrients which occurs after a 50% distal enterectomy was associated with a fall in EMR and CCPR, yet the enhanced nutrient uptake which occurs in diabetes is not associated with any alteration in EMR, CCPR, enterocyte transport pool (ETP), i.e., the length of the enterocyte column along with the villus containing amino acid transporter) or expression of transporter along the villus. The reduced uptake of nutrients in rats fed P as compared with S was associated with increased rather than decreased ETP and age of the enterocytes at the tip of the villus. The reduced nutrient uptake which occurs 3 days after abdominal irradiation was associated with increased EMR and CCPR, and reduced ETP and age of enterocytes of the tip of the villus. However, 14 days after irradiation when nutrient transport remains reduced, these parameters have returned to normal. Thus, alterations in nutrient transport may be associated with changes in the dynamic morphology of the intestine, but the two processes are not necessarily interdependent. We speculate that the changes in the dynamic morphology of the intestine, and the changes of amino acid transport which occurs in these models of intestinal adaptation, are independently controlled.

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