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Letters to Nature
Nature 212, 189 - 190 (08 October 1966); doi:10.1038/212189a0

Diffusion Potentials across the Small Intestine


Department of Physiology, University of Sheffield.
*Present address: The Biophysical Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

THE spontaneous potential difference across the wall of the small intestine is small compared with that found across most other epithelial tissues. The intestine is unique, however, in that the magnitude of the potential difference is considerably enhanced by the presence of actively transferred hexoses and amino-acids1,2. In the case of the amino-acids it has been suggested that the increase might be accounted for by a modification of passive ionic permeabilities at the mucosal face of the intestine. These experiments were undertaken to investigate permeability characteristics of the rat small intestine and to determine whether they can be modified by an actively transferred hexose.



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