Colonic infusion of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) is trophic to rat jejunum and is associated with raised jejunal gastrin concentration. This study examined the hypothesis that the jejunal trophic effects of colonic SCFAs are mediated in part by gastrin. Forty six adult rats underwent caecectomy to reduce endogenous production of SCFA, ileocolonic anastomosis, and placement of a colonic infusion catheter. SCFA (70 mM acetate, 35 mM propionate, 20 mM butyrate) or saline were continuously infused into the colon for seven days. Rats received either a gastrin receptor blocker (L-365,260) or a control solution and animals were killed on day 8. SCFA infused into the colon acted systemically to significantly improve jejunal structure and increase jejunal gastrin concentrations. Gastrin receptor blockade abolished effects of SCFA on jejunal DNA, protein, crypt cell proliferation, and gastrin. Gastrin blockade did not reduce SCFA induced augmentation of villous height or crypt depth. It is concluded that the jejunal trophic effects of colonically infused SCFA are mediated in part by gastrin.
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