, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 547-562
Date: 06 Dec 2006

Effects of amino acid-derived luminal metabolites on the colonic epithelium and physiopathological consequences

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Depending on the amount of alimentary proteins, between 6 and 18 g nitrogenous material per day enter the large intestine lumen through the ileocaecal junction. This material is used as substrates by the flora resulting eventually in the presence of a complex mixture of metabolites including ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, short and branched-chain fatty acids, amines; phenolic, indolic and N-nitroso compounds. The beneficial versus deleterious effects of these compounds on the colonic epithelium depend on parameters such as their luminal concentrations, the duration of the colonic stasis, the detoxication capacity of epithelial cells in response to increase of metabolite concentrations, the cellular metabolic utilization of these metabolites as well as their effects on colonocyte intermediary and oxidative metabolism. Furthermore, the effects of metabolites on electrolyte movements through the colonic epithelium must as well be taken into consideration for such an evaluation. The situation is further complicated by the fact that other non-nitrogenous compounds are believed to interfere with these various phenomenons. Finally, the pathological consequences of the presence of excessive concentrations of these compounds are related to the short- and, most important, long-term effects of these compounds on the rapid colonic epithelium renewing and homeostasis.