Background Epidermal growth factor (EGF) has been shown to increase intestinal absorptive surface area and transport function in normal animals.
Aims To examine the effect of EGF on absorptive surface area and brush border membrane function in a model of massive small bowel resection.
Methods New Zealand white rabbits were randomised into two groups: a resected group (60% proximal small bowel resection); and an unmanipulated control group. Distal remnant tissue was examined 10 and 21 days postsurgery. In separate experiments oral EGF (40 μg/kg/day) was administered to resected animals from days 3 to 8 and animals were studied on day 10.
Results Ten days postsurgery brush border surface area and total absorptive surface area were significantly increased in remnant tissue while brush border membrane vesicle (BBMV) glucose uptake was significantly decreased compared with controls. By 21 days brush border surface area returned to control levels though BBMV glucose uptake remained depressed. EGF treatment induced a further increase in brush border surface area in remnant intestine but did not alter BBMV glucose uptake.
Conclusions Surgical resection results in significant elevations in absorptive surface area coupled with a decrease in brush border membrane transport function distal to the site of anastomosis. EGF enhances glucose uptake in remnant intestine via recruitment of additional microvillus membrane into the brush border.
- short gut
- surface area
- brush border membrane
- brush border membrane vesicle
- epidermal growth factor
- dimethyl sulphoxide
- sodium glucose linked transporter
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