, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 119–126 | Cite as

Biochemical and morpho-cytochemical evidence for the intestinal absorption of insulin in control and diabetic rats. Comparison between the effectiveness of duodenal and colon mucosa

  • M. Bendayan
  • E. Ziv
  • D. Gingras
  • R. Ben-Sasson
  • H. Bar-On
  • M. Kidron


A combined biochemical and morpho-cytochemical investigation was carried out in order to assess insulin absorption by the duodenal and colon epithelium. Insulin was introduced in the lumen of the rat duodenum or colon in combination with sodium cholate and aprotinin. Blood analysis made at several time points has demonstrated a rapid increase in circulating levels of insulin followed by significant and consistent decreases in blood glucose. This indicates that biologically active insulin is absorbed by the intestinal mucosa and transferred to the circulation. Because of the initial high blood glucose levels, the lowering of the glycaemic values was more significant in diabetic animals. Also, levels of circulating insulin remained higher for longer time when the administration was performed in the colon. The integrity of the intestinal wall after insulin administration, evaluated morphologically, was retained. Application of protein A-gold immunocytochemistry has established the pathway for insulin absorption. In both duodenal and colon epithelial cells the labelling for insulin was detected in the endosomal compartment, in the Golgi apparatus and in association with the baso-lateral plasma membrane interdigitations. Some labelling was also present in the interstitial space and in capillary endothelial plasmalemmal vesicles. Insulin introduced in the lumen of the rat duodenum and colon appears thus to be rapidly internalized by the epithelial cells and transferred through a transcytotic pathway to the interstitial space from which it reaches the blood circulation. This exogenous insulin then induces significant decreases in plasma glucose levels which lasts for several hours. The results obtained support the possibility for the clinical development of an oral preparation of insulin.

Key words

Insulin absorption oral insulin immunocytochemistry diabetes mellitus 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Bendayan
    • 1
  • E. Ziv
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Gingras
    • 1
  • R. Ben-Sasson
    • 2
  • H. Bar-On
    • 2
  • M. Kidron
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Hadassah University HospitalThe Hebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

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