Amino acid transport across the mammalian intestine

Stefan Bröer*, Stephen J. Fairweather

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    108 Citations (Scopus)


    The small intestine mediates the absorption of amino acids after ingestion of protein and sustains the supply of amino acids to all tissues. The small intestine is an important contributor to plasma amino acid homeostasis, while amino acid transport in the large intestine is more relevant for bacterial metabolites and fluid secretion. A number of rare inherited disorders have contributed to the identification of amino acid transporters in epithelial cells of the small intestine, in particular cystinuria, lysinuric protein intolerance, Hartnup disorder, iminoglycinuria, and dicarboxylic aminoaciduria. These are most readily detected by analysis of urine amino acids, but typically also affect intestinal transport. The genes underlying these disorders have all been identified. The remaining transporters were identified through molecular cloning techniques to the extent that a comprehensive portrait of functional cooperation among transporters of intestinal epithelial cells is now available for both the basolateral and apical membranes. Mouse models of most intestinal transporters illustrate their contribution to amino acid homeostasis and systemic physiology. Intestinal amino acid transport activities can vary between species, but these can now be explained as differences of amino acid transporter distribution along the intestine.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)343-373
    Number of pages31
    JournalComprehensive Physiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


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