Characterization of urea transport mechanisms in the intestinal tract of growing pigs

American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Jack E C KroneDaniel A Columbus


Pigs are capable of nitrogen salvage via urea recycling, which involves the movement of urea in the gastrointestinal tract. Aquaporins (AQP) and urea transporter B (UT-B) are involved in urea recycling in ruminants; however, their contribution to urea flux in the intestinal tract of the pig is not known. The objective of this study was to characterize the presence and relative contribution of known urea transporters to urea flux in the growing pig. Intestinal tissue samples (duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, and colon) were obtained from nine barrows (50.8 ± 0.9 kg) and analyzed for mRNA abundance of UT-B and AQP-3, -7, and -10. Immediately after tissue collection, samples from the jejunum and cecum were placed in Ussing chambers for analysis of the serosal-to-mucosal urea flux (Jsm-urea) with no inhibition or when incubated in the presence of phloretin to inhibit UT-B-mediated transport, NiCl2 to inhibit AQP-mediated transport, or both inhibitors. UT-B expression was greatest (P < 0.05) in the cecum, whereas AQP-3, -7, and -10 expression was greatest (P < 0.05) in the jejunum. The Jsm-urea was greater in the cecum than the jejunum (67.8 . 42.7 ± 5.01 µmol·cm-2·h-1; P < 0.05), confirming the capacity for urea recycling in the gu...Continue Reading


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