Recent advances in carrier-mediated intestinal absorption of water-soluble vitamins

Annu Rev Physiol. 2004;66:419-46. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physiol.66.032102.144611.


Significant progress has been made in recent years toward understanding the mechanisms and regulation of intestinal absorption of water-soluble vitamins from the diet, especially those that are transported by a specialized carrier-mediated mechanism (i.e., ascorbic acid, biotin, folate, riboflavin, thiamin, and pyridoxine). The driving force involved in the uptake events and the molecular identity of the systems involved have been identified for a number of these vitamins. In addition, information about regulation of the uptake process of these micronutrients by intracellular and extracellular factors has been forthcoming. Furthermore, the 5' regulatory region of the genes that encode a number of these transporters has been characterized, thus providing information about transcriptional regulation of the transport events. Also of interest is the identification of existence of carrier-mediated mechanisms in human colonocytes that are capable of absorbing some of the vitamins that are synthesized by normal microflora of the large intestine. Although the contribution of the latter source of vitamins toward overall host nutrition is not clear and requires further investigations, it is highly likely that it does contribute toward the cellular homeostasis of these vitamins in the localized colonocytes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology*
  • Solubility
  • Vitamins / chemistry
  • Vitamins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Water


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Vitamins
  • Water