Chloroplast thylakoids reduce glucose uptake and decrease intestinal macromolecular permeability

Br J Nutr. 2011 Sep;106(6):836-44. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511001267. Epub 2011 May 11.


Thylakoid membranes, derived from chloroplasts, have previously been shown to retard fat digestion and lower blood glucose levels after oral intake. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of thylakoid membranes on the passage of methyl-glucose, dextran and ovalbumin over rat intestine in vitro using Ussing chambers. The results show that thylakoids retard the passage of each of the test molecules in a dose-dependent way. The thylakoids appear to be attached on the mucosal surface and a mechanism is suggested that the thylakoids delay the passage of the test molecules by sterical hindrance. The present results indicate that thylakoid membranes may be useful both to control intestinal absorption of glucose and to enhance the barrier function of the intestine.

MeSH terms

  • 3-O-Methylglucose / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Area Under Curve
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Dextrans / chemistry
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glucose / pharmacokinetics*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Mice
  • Ovalbumin / metabolism
  • Permeability
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Spinacia oleracea / metabolism
  • Thylakoids / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • Dextrans
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • 3-O-Methylglucose
  • Ovalbumin
  • Glucose