Four and 12 days after the construction of self-filling jejunal blind loops in the rat, the apparent Km- and Vmax-values of lactase/beta-glucosidase and neutral alpha-glucosidase were determined by in-situ quantitative enzyme histochemistry, and changes in the villus-crypt architecture of the mucosa were examined by microdissection. The results were compared with corresponding data from sham-operated controls. The kinetics data were obtained from the base and the transition zone between medium and apical villus third by the use of a microdensitometric technique. The apparent Vmax of lactase/beta-glucosidase is significantly smaller than in the control rats at both measuring sites of the villi and even decreases from day 4 to day 12. The apparent Vmax of neural alpha-glucosidase is not affected, and thus the same increase in enzyme activity along the villi as in the controls is observed. The apparent Km of this enzyme, however, is already significantly increased on day 4 at both villus positions in the blind loops. A pronounced increase in villus surface area is detected in the blind loops as a result of an increase in crypt cell proliferation. The results indicate that enzymatic adaptation in the self-filling blind loops of rat jejunum exhibits different patterns for brush border alpha- and beta-glucosidases and is at least in part accomplished independently of the pronounced mucosal transformation occurring in this experimental condition.
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