Jejunal brush border glucose transport was studied in a patient with glucose-galactose malabsorption and in controls, using jejunal brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV) prepared from conventional jejunal biopsies. Whereas BBMV from controls showed a seven-fold enhancement of D-glucose uptake in the presence of an inwardly directed sodium gradient compared with its absence, no such enhancement was seen in the patient's vesicles. In BBMV from the patient, initial D-glucose uptake under sodium gradient conditions was only 10% of the mean control value. In contrast, sodium/proton exchange in BBMV from the patient was intact. These data provide the first unequivocal evidence that the jejunal brush border membrane is the site of a specific defect in sodium dependent glucose transport in glucose-galactose malabsorption. Measurement of glucose uptake by BBMV may well be the optimal diagnostic technique in this disorder.
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