Polyamines in the gut lumen: bioavailability and biodistribution

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001 Sep;13(9):1021-5. doi: 10.1097/00042737-200109000-00004.


Polyamines arrive in the gut lumen mainly with food. Shortly after a meal, the majority of luminal polyamines disappear from the duodenal and jejunal lumen, by a mechanism of passive diffusion. The majority of luminal polyamines are degraded in the gut before reaching systemic circulation. Hence, there is broad evidence that luminal polyamines are indeed absorbed, distributed throughout the body, and utilized for cellular growth in remote organs and tissues. In addition, luminal polyamines are crucially involved in normal, adaptive and neoplastic growth of the gut per se, and are taken up by normal and neoplastic epithelial cells of the gut mucosa by a tightly regulated and presumably active transport process. Uptake of polyamines into intestinal and colonic epithelial cells is the highest during cell proliferation, and is stimulated by mitogens and peptide growth factors. Understanding the mechanisms of polyamine uptake in neoplastic cells of the gut, as well as the "biodistribution/bioavailability" of luminal polyamines in man, may provide clinically relevant information that can be used in inhibiting cancer cell growth by deprivation of intracellular polyamine pools.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Availability
  • Biological Transport, Active / physiology
  • Digestive System / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Male
  • Polyamines / metabolism*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Polyamines