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Quantitative Aspects of Pinocytosis in Relation to Intestinal Absorption

Naturevolume 199pages11921193 (1963) | Download Citation



ONE hypothesis to account for the way in which fat is taken up by the cells of the intestinal mucosa of mammals is that the cells engulf droplets of fat by the process of pinocytosis1–4. The quantitative aspects of the phenomenon of pinocytosis are of interest for the reason that the size of the vesicles that have been described in this connexion are so small that in order to engulf physiological quantities of fat the number required and the rate at which they are formed must be correspondingly large. In Table 1 are given the numbers of spherical vesicles of differing radii, of the order of size described for pinocytotic vesicles in rat intestine, that are required to be formed to engulf a volume of 1 ml. The total surface of the vesicles is also shown.

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    Palay, S. L., and Karlin, L. J., J. Biophys. and Biochem. Cytol., 5, 373 (1959).

  2. 2

    Davenport, H. W., Physiology of the Digestive Tract (Year Book Medical Pub. Inc., Chicago, 1961).

  3. 3

    Park, C. R., in Membrane Transport and Metabolism, 19, edit. by Kleinzeller, A., and Kotyk, A. (Academic Press, Inc., London, 1961).

  4. 4

    Wilson, T. H., Intestinal Absorption (W. B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, 1962).

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    Fisher, R. B., and Parsons, D. S., J. Anat. (Lond.), 84, 272 (1950).

  6. 6

    Carter, C. W., Coxon, R. V., Parsons, D. S., and Thompson, R. H. S., Biochemistry in Relation to Medicine, third ed., Chap. 10 (Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1959).

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  1. Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford

    • D. S. PARSONS


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