Physiology of intestinal absorption and secretion

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379 Scopus citations


Virtually all nutrients from the diet are absorbed into blood across the highly polarized epithelial cell layer forming the small and large intestinal mucosa. Anatomical, histological, and functional specializations along the gastrointestinal tract are responsible for the effective and regulated nutrient transport via both passive and active mechanisms. In this chapter, we summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the mechanism of intestinal absorption of key nutrients such as sodium, anions (chloride, sulfate, oxalate), carbohydrates, amino acids and peptides, lipids, lipid- and water-soluble vitamins, as well as the major minerals and micronutrients. This outline, including the molecular identity, specificity, and coordinated activities of key transport proteins and genes involved, serves as the background for the following chapters focused on the pathophysiology of acquired and congenital intestinal malabsorption, as well as clinical tools to test and treat malabsorptive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-159
Number of pages15
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Amino acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Chloride
  • Epithelial transport
  • Lipids
  • Micronutrients
  • Minerals
  • Oxalate
  • Short chain fatty acids
  • Sodium
  • Sulfate
  • vitamins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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