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Nutrient Absorption Deserves People's Concern

Aug 10, 2015     Email"> PrintText Size

At present, a lot of people begin to pay attention to their dietary nutrition, even carefully calculating the nutrient content in food. However, even though they do these things very well, most people find that they do not achieve the desired effects. This phenomenon may be caused by defective absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract. Actually, in some cases, defective absorption of nutrients could be life-threatening for people, specially, pregnant woman, baby, and patients. Therefore, nutrition absorption should be attached great importance.

Dietary amino acids are a major fuel for the small intestinal mucosa and are necessary for maintaining the intestinal mucosal morphology and function in neonatal piglets. Sodium-dependent neutral amino acid transporter 2 (SNAT2) functions as conduits for delivery of amino acids across the plasma membrane of cells, facilitating the absorption and utilization of free amino acids. A good knowledge of the role of SNAT2 in the small intestine is beneficial to promoting amino acids’ absorption and consequently improved the health status of humans.

Recently, a team of researchers led by Prof. YIN Yulong from the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISA) in collaboration with other researchers from China Agricultural University, conducted a study to clone the full sequence of SNAT2 and explored the distribution and ontogenetic expression of SNAT2 during the suckling and post-weaning periods, as well as the effects of substrates on the expression of SNAT2 in the small intestine, which should help to further elucidate the role of SNAT2 in the absorption of amino acids and signal transduction in the porcine small intestine.

The researchers found that SNAT2 could be cloned and detected in the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum of piglets. Moreover, during the suckling period from days 1 to 21, the duodenal mucosa had the highest abundance of SNAT2 mRNA among the three segments of the small intestine of piglets. In the first week post-weaning, amino acid starvation and supplementation with the arginine or leucine enhanced SNAT2 mRNA expression. This enhanced SNAT2 mRNA facilitated the absorption and utilization of free amino acids, leading to an improved health status.

The research was the jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31372326 and 31330075) and the 973 National Projects Subject (2013CB127302 and 2013CB127306).

The study entitled “Characterization and regulation of the amino acid transporter SNAT2 in the small intestine of piglets” has been published in Volume 10, issue 6, June 2015 of PLoS One, details could be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0128207.

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(Editor: 陈潇)

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