Distribution of disaccharidases, alkaline phosphatase, and some intracellular enzymes along the human small intestine

Scand J Gastroenterol. 1975;10(6):647-51.


The longitudinal distribution of various enzymes along the human small intestine was studied by analysis of biopsies from different parts of the small intestine, obtained from 13 patients during shunt-operation for severe obesity. Alkaline phosphatase and 3 glycolytic enzyme activities studied were rather uniformly distributed along the small intestine. Acid beta-galactosidase and hetero beta-galactosidase activities were highest in the proximal small intestine with a gradual decline throughout the intestine. The activity in the distal ileum was about half of the maximum activity. Maltase, isomaltase, sucrase, and trehalase activity had a broad maximum in the proximal and middle small intestine with a rather sharp decrease in the distal ileum. Lactase activity had a more pronounced maximum in the middle intestine with a pronounced decrease towards the proximal and distal ends. The disaccharidase activities in surgical biopsies taken 5 cm distal to the ligament of Treitz were about 10% higher than in peroral biopsies taken just at the ligament.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism*
  • Biopsy
  • Disaccharidases / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Galactosidases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ileum / enzymology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / enzymology
  • Intestine, Small / enzymology*
  • Intestine, Small / pathology
  • Jejunum / enzymology
  • Lactose / metabolism
  • Male
  • Maltose / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Sucrase / metabolism
  • Trehalase / metabolism


  • Maltose
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Disaccharidases
  • Galactosidases
  • Trehalase
  • Sucrase
  • Lactose