The effects of different bile salts on the absorption of fluid, electrolytes, and monosaccharides have been investigated in the rat small intestine in vivo. In the jejunum, deoxycholate (1 mM) impaired absorption of water and potassium, but not of sodium or glucose; at higher concentrations (2·5 and 5 mM) secretion of fluid and electrolytes occurred, and glucose and fructose absorption was impaired. By contrast, in the ileum, 1 mM deoxycholate failed to inhibit fluid and electrolyte absorption, and a concentration of 10 mM was required completely to inhibit absorption; secretion was not observed in the ileum.
Chenodeoxycholate (5 mM) produced a similar effect to deoxycholate on fluid and electrolyte absorption in both jejunum and ileum, but taurocholate (5 mM) and taurodeoxycholate (5 mM) were ineffective.
In jejunum, cholate, taurocholate, and taurodeoxycholate, each at a concentration of 5 mM, were less effective inhibitors of glucose transport than deoxycholate; chenodeoxycholate failed to inhibit glucose absorption.
Deoxycholate produced histological damage at 5 mM, but not at lower concentrations. The functional and structural abnormalities were shown to be reversible phenomena.
These findings may be relevant to the pathogenesis of diarrhoea in patients with bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
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