Using a method for measuring changes in transmural potential difference across the human jejunum in vivo, the operational kinetic parameters of 'Apparent Km' and PD max for the active electrogenic component of glucose absorption were estimated in a group of healthy volunteers and in patients with coeliac disease. Both the 'Apparent Km' (17+/2mM; mean +/SEM) and the PD max (8.6+/0.7 mV) in nine patients with untreated coeliac disease were significantly lower (p less than 0.005) than in the control group ('Apparent Km' = 74+/5mM; PD max 12.8+/0.9mV, n=20). Treatment of five coeliac patients by gluten withdrawal for less than three months increased significantly the values of both the "Apparent Km (35+/6mM) and the TPD max (11.4+/1.2mV). Treatment of five patients for more than six months caused a further increase in the values of both kinetic parameters ('Apparent Km' = 108+/13mM; PD max =15.6+/2.7mV) to levels which exceeded those in healthy subjects. The possible interpretations of the differences in the kinetic characteristics of electrogenic glucose transport between coeliac patients and healthy subjects are discussed.
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