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Distal versus proximal intestinal short-chain fatty acid release in man
  1. Evelien PJG Neis1,2,
  2. Hans MH van Eijk1,
  3. Kaatje Lenaerts1,
  4. Steven WM Olde Damink1,3,
  5. Ellen E Blaak2,4,
  6. Cornelis HC Dejong1,2,3,5,
  7. Sander S Rensen1
  1. 1 Department of Surgery, NUTRIM School for Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  3. 3 Department of Surgery, Universitätsklinikum Aachen, Aachen, Germany
  4. 4 Department of Human Biology, NUTRIM School for Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  5. 5 GROW School for Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Sander S Rensen, Department of Surgery, Maastricht University Medical Centre, PO Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands; s.rensen{at}

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Several recent studies published in Gut highlight the potential of prebiotics and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) to improve obesity and its associated metabolic disorders. Catry and colleagues1 demonstrated that inulin-type fructans improve endothelial dysfunction, and Roager et al2 showed that a whole grain-rich diet reduced body weight and inflammation. Li et al3 reported that butyrate administration reduced appetite and activated brown adipose tissue in mice, and Chambers and colleagues4 showed that targeted propionate delivery to the human colon reduced energy intake and body weight gain.

In light of these important effects of SCFA, insight into their fate after bacterial production and/or intestinal absorption will help to improve the development of nutritional strategies aiming at modulation of intestinal SCFA. We addressed this issue by assessing SCFA release in the proximal intestines (jejunum, ileum and proximal colon) versus the distal intestines (descending colon, sigmoid and rectum) in man. Blood was simultaneously sampled from the portal vein, hepatic vein, superior mesenteric vein (SMV; draining the proximal intestines), inferior mesenteric vein (IMV; draining the distal intestines) …

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  • Contributors CD and SR conceived and designed the study with input from the other authors. EPJGN, SWOD, CD and HMHvE collected the data. EPJGN and SSR wrote the first draft of the paper. CD, EEB and SSR supervised the project and funded this study. EPJGN, SSR and HMHvE analysed the data. All authors interpreted the data and contributed to the writing of the paper. All authors revised and approved the final version.

  • Funding This study was funded by TI Food and Nutrition, a public–private partnership on precompetitive research in food and nutrition research. Partners are key players in the global food industry, leading research institutes, universities and medical centres.

  • Disclaimer The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of Maastricht University Medical Centre (MEC 11-3-084) and was conducted according to the ethical standards of the Helsinki Declaration of 1975 and in accordance with the Medical Research Involving Human Subjects Act (WMO). All patients provided verbal and written informed consent before surgery.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.