Structural and functional abnormalities of the small intestine in infants and young children with rotavirus enteritis

Acta Paediatr Scand. 1979 Mar;68(2):181-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1979.tb04986.x.


Structural and functional alterations in duodenal mucosa from 17 children with rotavirus enteritis were assessed. Structural changes were found in specimens from all patients. Patients with the most severe mucosal damage were more likely to require intravenous therapy to correct dehydration. Depression of one or more mucosal disaccharidases was found in 14 of 16 patients. Repeat duodenal biopsy three to eight weeks later in six patients showed marked improvement. The study clearly shows that rotavirus can cause a marked structural and functional lesion in the upper small intestine which is rapidly reversible.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disaccharidases / metabolism
  • Duodenal Diseases / enzymology
  • Duodenal Diseases / pathology*
  • Duodenum / enzymology
  • Duodenum / pathology
  • Enteritis / enzymology
  • Enteritis / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Mucosa / enzymology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Male
  • Microvilli / ultrastructure
  • Organoids / ultrastructure
  • Rotavirus
  • Virus Diseases / enzymology
  • Virus Diseases / pathology*


  • Disaccharidases