The mechanism of acetate absorption in the small intestine is not yet established. One possible mechanism is by carrier mediated Na(+)-acetate cotransport since acetate, like glucose, stimulates intestinal Na+ and water absorption in vivo. Uptake of radioactive carbon acetate by small intestinal brush border membrane vesicles was not saturable or Na+ dependent and did not respond to osmotic shrinkage of the vesicles. This suggests that acetate binds to the membranes but is not transported into the intravesicular space and argues against carrier mediated Na+ acetate cotransport. These results are consistent with acetate absorption by a non-mediated diffusion and suggest that the stimulation of water and Na+ absorption by acetate in vivo is largely due to osmotic forces and solvent drag.
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