The content of free amino acids in the human duodenal mucosa

Clin Nutr. 1993 Oct;12(5):266-71. doi: 10.1016/0261-5614(93)90044-5.


The free amino acid concentrations and the total protein content of the duodenal mucosa were determined in biopsy specimens obtained during endoscopic examinations in 10 healthy subjects. The amino acids were separated and quantified by ion exchange chromatography using fluorescence detection. The protein content was analysed according to Lowry. The amino acid pattern found in the duodenal mucosa was quite different from that in the plasma. The total amounts of all individual free amino acids were considerably higher in the mucosa than in the plasma (16.2 +/- 0.6 mmol/kg biopsy weight compared to 2.4 +/- 0.1 mmol/l). Taurine, glutamate and aspartate constituted more then 65% of the total content of all amino acids in the mucosa. Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in plasma (21%), ranked only as sixth in the duodenal mucosa (4%); still, the absolute concentrations were quite similar in the mucosa and plasma (0.60 +/- 0.05 mmol/kg vs. 0.53 +/- 0.02 mmol/l). This study demonstrates the possibility of determining free amino acids in endoscopic biopsy specimens from the human duodenum. The technique is recommended for repeated sampling in clinical studies on the amino acid metabolism of the intestinal mucosa.