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Intestinal absorption of two dipeptides in Hartnup disease
  1. A. M. Asatoor,
  2. B. Cheng,
  3. K. D. G. Edwards,
  4. A. F. Lant,
  5. D. M. Matthews,
  6. M. D. Milne,
  7. F. Navab,
  8. A. J. Richards


    The results of oral tolerance tests of two dipeptides and of their constitutent amino acids are compared in normal subjects and in a case of Hartnup disease. In the control subjects the rate of absorption of phenylalanine from phenylalanyl-phenylalanine and of tryptophan from glycyl-tryptophan was slower than after the equivalent amount of the free amino acids. Absorption of the two essential amino acids (tryptophan and phenylalanine) in the patient was almost zero after administration in the free form, but was much greater after the dipeptide.

    Results of experiments on absorption and hydrolysis of the two peptides in the rat small intestine are also reported.

    It is suggested that whereas normal subjects absorb essential amino acids by a dual mechanism of mucosal uptake of free amino acids and oligopeptides, nutrition in Hartnup disease is largely dependent on uptake of oligopeptides containing the amino acids affected by the intestinal transport defect of the disease.

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    • 1 Address for correspondence: Professor M. D. Milne, Medical Unit, Westminster Hospital, 17 Page Street, London, SW1.