Background. Intestinal transplantation is now used for patients with severe malabsorption, however, little data exists quantifying the ability of the graft to absorb fat. This study tested the hypothesis that intestinal transplantation would not affect the lymphatic or venous uptake of fatty acids. Methods. A syngeneic rat model of intestinal trans-plantation (SIT) with caval drainage of the graft was used. Control animals underwent intestinal division and reanastomosis (n= 15 in each group). The animals were followed for 6 weeks, and fat absorption in vivo was quantified. The animals were anesthetized, sampling catheters were placed in the jugular and superior mesenteric veins and in the mesenteric lymphatic duct, and a feeding tube was passed into the duodenum. Animals were allowed to recover, and a steady- state duodenal infusion of lauric (C12:0) and palmitic (C16:0) fatty acid emulsion was begun. A radiolabeled pulse of lauric (C12:0)and palmitic (C16:0) fatty acid was then given, and the subsequent appearance in the lymphatic and venous systems was quantified. Results. In vivo absorption of dietary fat was pre-served, but after transplantation the mesenteric lymphatic flow and cumulative lymphatic appearance of both labels was significantly reduced (flow reduced from 4.8±1.1 in controls to 1.0±0.29 ml/hr in transplant animals, whereas lauric acid absorption was 33±11.4% in controls vs. 7.5±2.5% in transplant animals). There was a modest increase in the jugular venous appearance of the fatty acids (2.0±1.1% in transplant animals vs. 0.75±0.55% in controls for lauric acid; P<0.05 for all comparisons). Absorption of lauric and palmitic acids was very similar, and there was no preferential ab-sorption detected in the portal venous system. Dye studies demonstrated lymphatic recannulization around the vascular anastomosis, into the retroperitoneum. Conclusions. These results suggest that in this model of SIT, fat absorption via the mesenteric duct is reduced, but that compensatory collaterals form into the retroperitoneal lymphatics. There was no evidence of any significant increase in portal venous uptake of fatty acids after SIT, nor of preferential absorption of medium-chain fatty acids. These results may have implications for patients after SIT.
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