Intestinal absorption of glycine 20 mmol/1, glycyl-glycine 10 mmol/1 plus L-leucine 10 mmol/1, and glycyl-L-leucine 10 mmol/1 has been studied by intestinal perfusion in 11 patients with tropical sprue and 10 control subjects. The patients with sprue had a significant reduction in the rate of absorption of glycine from a 20 mmol/1 solution, but there were no significant differences in the absorption of the other substances. The failure to demonstrate any difference in the absorption of these substances is probably related to their low concentration relative to the maximum absorptive capacity of the intestine. In both groups of subjects the kinetic advantage of glycyl-glycine absorption as compared with glycine absorption was maintained. When the dipeptides were perfused, free amino acids appeared in the perfusate presumably by "back diffusion" from the mucosal cells. In the case of glycyl-L-leucine considerably more glycine and leucine were found in the perfusate in patients with sprue than in the control subjects. There was no correlation between peptide absorption and the concentration of total glycly-glycine hydrolase and glycyl-L-leucine hydrolase, measured as combined brush border and cytosol enzymes. The concentrations of these enzymes were similar in both groups of subjects.
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