Intestinal cell proliferation and cell production is best quantified by measuring the rate of accumulation of vincristine arrested metaphases in microdissected intestinal crypts to determine the crypt cell production rate (CCPR). Studies of intestinal adaptation could be much more informative if a valid measure of intestinal function could also be included. One such method is the water absorption capacity. The CCPR of the jejunum and intestinal water absorption were measured in 19 groups of hypo and hyperproliferative rats which were in a 'steady state' of cell production and turnover. The minimum values were obtained after hypophysectomy and the maximum values were observed in lactation. Crypt cell production rate and absorption were significantly correlated (p less than 0.001) to each other. There was a significant (p less than 0.001) correlation between both CCPR and absorption and dry weight of the intestinal segment studies and food intake. Body weight was a poor predictor of either CCPR or absorption. The combined study of CCPR and water absorption is thus a practical and convenient approach to the study of intestinal cell proliferation and intestinal adaptation.
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