The effect of sodium on the absorption of L-alanine in vivo was tested by measuring the absorption of L-alanine from Thiry-Vella loops in dogs. Solutions containing L-alanine (10 or 50 mM) sodium at concentrations of 0, 74, or 145 m-equiv/1 and mannitol, as needed to maintain isotonicity were instilled into the loops for 10 minutes. Similar studies were done with L-alanine 50 mM and either 0 or 145 m-equiv/1 of sodium for five minutes. Under all conditions absorption of alanine was significantly less from the solution initially free of sodium. Although these differences were statistically significant, the physiological significance was not great since the actual differences in amounts of L-alanine absorbed were small.
Insorption of sodium was low from the fluid which initially had no sodium, but exsorption proceeded rapidly and was unaffected by the luminal sodium concentration. This resulted in a rapid rise of intraluminal sodium concentration when no sodium was initially present. This persistent exsorption of sodium was, therefore, adequate to provide sodium in the lumen to activate the sodium-dependent carrier, postulated on the basis of studies in vitro. These data in vivo are consistent with the view that sodium at the intraluminal surface is important in accelerating amino acid transport, but indicate that in the absence of added intraluminal sodium the gut mucosa itself, under normal circumstances, provides the sodium needed for L-alanine absorption.
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