Mediation of the trophic effects of short-chain fatty acids on the rat jejunum and colon

Gastroenterology. 1994 Feb;106(2):375-80. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(94)90595-9.


Background/aims: Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are trophic to small intestinal and colonic mucosa. This study determined whether SCFAs infused into the cecum out of continuity stimulated jejunal and colonic cellularity and whether these effects were mediated by the autonomic nervous system and/or enterotrophic hormones.

Methods: To eliminate direct trophic effects of SCFAs in contact with mucosa, 60 rats underwent cecal isolation with placement of an infusion catheter into the proximal cecum, formation of distal cecocutaneous stoma, and restoration of intestinal continuity with ileocolonic anastomosis. Rats underwent cecal denervation or remained normally innervated and received 1 of 3 infusions for 10 days: SCFAs, saline, or no infusion. Twenty-four additional rats were assigned to the same groups but underwent infusion into the proximal colon (in circuit).

Results: Cecal infusion of SCFAs into innervated rats increased (P < 0.05) jejunal DNA, villous height, surface area, crypt depth, and gastrin without increasing colonic variables. In denervated rats, SCFAs did not significantly affect these variables. However, direct intracolonic infusions of SCFAs increased (P < 0.05) colonic mucosal DNA and crypt depth.

Conclusions: Jejunotrophic effects of cecally infused SCFAs are mediated afferently by the autonomic nervous system and are associated with increased jejunal gastrin. SCFAs have local trophic effects on the colon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cecum
  • Colon / chemistry
  • Colon / drug effects*
  • Colon / innervation
  • DNA / analysis
  • Denervation
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Gastrins / analysis
  • Jejunum / chemistry
  • Jejunum / drug effects*
  • Jejunum / innervation
  • Male
  • Peptide YY
  • Peptides / analysis
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Gastrins
  • Peptides
  • Proteins
  • Peptide YY
  • DNA