Lactose maldigestion during methotrexate-induced gastrointestinal mucositis in a rat model

M. Fijlstra, E. H.H.M. Rings, H. J. Verkade, T. H. Van Dijk, W. A. Kamps, W. J.E. Tissing

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftArtikelpeer review

35 Citaten (Scopus)


Patients with chemotherapy-induced gastrointestinal mucositis suffer from anorexia, diarrhea, and stomach pain, often causing weight loss and malnutrition. When the intestinal function during mucositis would be known, a rational feeding strategy might improve the nutritional state, accelerate recuperation, and increase survival of mucositis patients. We developed a methotrexate (MTX)-induced mucositis rat model to study nutrient digestion and absorption. To determine lactose digestion and absorption of its derivative glucose during mucositis, we injected Wistar rats intravenously with MTX (60 mg/kg) or 0.9% NaCl (controls). Four days later, we orally administered trace amounts of [1-13C]lactose and [U-13C]glucose and quantified the appearance of labeled glucose in the blood for 3 h. Finally, we determined plasma citrulline level and harvested the small intestine to assess histology, myeloperoxidase level, glycohydrolase activity, immunohistochemical protein, and mRNA expression. MTX-treated rats showed profound villus atrophy and epithelial damage. During the experimental period, the absorption of lactose-derived [1-13C]glucose was 4.2-fold decreased in MTX-treated rats compared with controls (P < 0.01). Lactose-derived [1- 13C]glucose absorption correlated strongly with villus length (rho = 0.86, P < 0.001) and with plasma citrulline level (rho = 0.81, P < 0.001). MTX treatment decreased jejunal lactase activity (19.5-fold, P < 0.01) and immunohistochemical protein and mRNA expression (39.7-fold, P < 0.01) compared with controls. Interestingly, MTX treatment did not affect the absorption of [U-13C]glucose during the experimental period. We conclude that lactose digestion is severely decreased during mucositis while glucose absorption is still intact, when supplied in trace amounts. Plasma citrulline level might be a useful objective, noninvasive marker for lactose maldigestion during mucositis in clinic.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)G283-G291
TijdschriftAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Nummer van het tijdschrift2
StatusGepubliceerd - feb. 2011
Extern gepubliceerdJa


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