Adaptation following intestinal resection: mechanisms and signals
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The intestine has an inherent ability to adapt morphologically and functionally in response to internal and external environmental changes. The functional adaptations encompass modifications of the brush border membrane fluidity and permeability, as well as up- or down-regulation of carrier-mediated transport. Intestinal adaptation improves the nutritional status following the loss of a major portion of the small intestine, following chronic ingestion of ethanol, following sublethal doses of abdominal irradiation, in diabetes, in pregnancy and lactation, with ageing, and with fasting and malnutrition. Following intestinal resection, morphological and functional changes occur depending upon the extent of the intestine removed, the site studied, and the lipid content of the diet. Therefore, intestinal adaptation has important implications in the survival potential and welfare of the host. An understanding of the mechanisms of, and signals for, intestinal adaptation in the experimental setting forms the basis for the use of management strategies in humans with the short-bowel syndrome.
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