Background/aims: HCO3- can be absorbed as well as secreted in the rabbit ileum. With 25 mmol/L HCO3- on the serosal side only, a serosa-to-mucosa flux (Jsm) is found; with 25 mmol/L on the mucosal side only, epinephrine elicits a mucosa-to-serosa flux (Jms). This study aimed to localize these two processes along the crypt-villus axis.
Methods: Excised ileal segments were exposed luminally to 2 mol/L Na2SO4 (hypertonic treatment) or to isotonic Ringer's solution for 15 minutes. Mucosa was then chamber-mounted, and measurements were made of Jsm or Jms and of short-circuit current (Isc) responses to glucose plus alanine and to either theophylline or epinephrine.
Results: With HCO3-/CO2 added to the serosal side only, hypertonically treated tissues showed a 22% decline in Jsm; a 25% decline in Isc response to theophylline; and a 71% decline in Isc response to glucose plus alanine compared with control. With HCO3-/CO2 added to the mucosal side only, tissues showed 92% and 87% declines in Jms and Isc responses to epinephrine, respectively, and a 87% decline in Isc response to glucose plus alanine. Histological examination showed destruction of villus caused by hypertonic treatment but sparing of crypt cells.
Conclusions: Both HCO3- and Cl- are secreted mainly by crypt cells and absorbed mainly by villus cells.