Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 399, Issue 1, pp 68–73 | Cite as

Regional differences in electrolyte, short-chain fatty acid and water absorption in the hindgut of two species of arboreal marsupilas

  • K. Rübsamen
  • I. D. Hume
  • W. J. Foley
  • U. Rübsamen
Transport Processes, Metabolism and Endocrinology; Kidney, Gastrointestinal Tract, and Oxocrine Glands


  1. 1.

    Short-chain fatty acid, electrolyte and water absorption from the hindgut of two arboreal marsupial species, the greater glider (Petauroides volans) and the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) were studied in vivo using a single perfusion technique.

  2. 2.

    Qualitative and quantitative differences in the net movement of sodium, potassium and chloride were found between the different hindgut segments and between the two species. All transport processes exhibited active characteristics. Net Na+ transport in all segments was concentration-dependent in the range of 45–135 mmol·l−1 Na+. The proximal colon of the greater glider showed a net Na+, Cl and water secretion and K+ absorption, all electrolyte movements being against the electrochemical gradient.

  3. 3.

    Water followed passively the osmotic gradient generated mainly by the net movement of Na+.

  4. 4.

    Short-chain fatty acids were absorbed according to their chain length in a constant ratio of 1.0:1.2:1.3 for acetate, propionate and butyrate, respectively.

  5. 5.

    Our data indicate that absorptive and secretory processes in the hindgut of these marsupials are basically similar to those of eutherians, even in epithelia differing significantly in the direction of net solute transport.


Key words

Colon Marsupials Solute transport SCFA absorption 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Argenzio RA, Miller N, Engelhardt W von (1975) Effect of volatile fatty acids on water and ion absorption from the goat colon. Am J Physiol 229: 997–1002Google Scholar
  2. Argenzio RA, Whipp SC (1979) Interrelationship of sodium, chloride, bicarbonate and acetate transport by the colon of the pig. J Physiol 295: 365–381Google Scholar
  3. Bentley PJ, Smith MW (1975) Transport of electrolytes across the helicoidal colon of newborn pigs. J Physiol Lond 249: 103–117Google Scholar
  4. Billich CO, Levitan R (1969) Effects of sodium concentration and osmolality on water and electrolyte absorption from the intact human colon. J Clin Invest 48: 1336–1347Google Scholar
  5. Binder JJ, Rawlins CL (1973) Electrolyte transport across isolated large intestinal mucosa. Am J Physiol 225: 1232–1239Google Scholar
  6. Crompton AW (1980) Biology of the earliest mammals. In: Schmidt-Nielsen K, Bolis L, Taylor CR (eds) Comparative physiology: Primitive mammals. University Press, Cambridge, pp 1–22Google Scholar
  7. Devroede GJ, Phillips SF, Code CF, Lind JF (1971) Regional differences in rates of insorption of sodium and water from the human large intestine. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 49: 1023–1029Google Scholar
  8. Edmonds CJ (1967a) The gradient of electrical potential difference and of sodium and potassium of the gut contents along the caecum and colon of normal and sodium-depleted rats. J Physiol 193: 571–588Google Scholar
  9. Edmonds CJ (1967b) Transport of sodium and secretion of potassium and bicarbonate by the colon of normal and sodium-depleted rats. J Physiol 193: 589–602Google Scholar
  10. Edmonds CJ (1967c) Transport of potassium by the colon of normal and sodium-depleted rats. J Physiol 193: 603–617Google Scholar
  11. Fisher KA, Binder HJ, Hayslett JP (1976) Potassium secretion by colonic mucosal cells after potassium adaptation. Am J Physiol 231: 987–994Google Scholar
  12. Frizzell RA, Koch MJ, Schultz SG (1976) Ion transport by rabbit colon. I. Active and passive components. J Membr Biol 27: 297–316Google Scholar
  13. Fromm M, Hegel U (1978) Segmental heterogeneity of epithelial transport in rat large intestine. Pflügers Arch 378: 71–83Google Scholar
  14. Hayslett JP, Binder HJ (1982) Mechanism of potassium adaptation. Am J Physiol 243: F103-F112Google Scholar
  15. Hayslett JP, Halevy J, Pace PE, Binder HJ (1982) Demonstration of net potassium absorption in mammalian colon. Am J Physiol 242: G209-G214Google Scholar
  16. Hecker JF, Grovum WL (1971) Absorption of water and electrolytes from the large intestine of sheep. Aust J Biol Sci 24: 365–372Google Scholar
  17. Hume ID (1982) The digestive physiology of marsupials. Comp Biochem Physiol 71: 1–10Google Scholar
  18. Lange R, Staaland H (1970) Adaptations of the caecum colon structure of rodents. Comp Biochem Physiol 35: 905–919Google Scholar
  19. McCabe R, Cooke HJ, Sullivan LP (1982) Potassium transport by rabbit descending colon. Am J Physiol 242: C81-C86Google Scholar
  20. Powell DW, Malawer SJ (1968) Relationship between water and solute transport from isoosmotic solutions by rat intestine in vivo. Am J Physiol 215: 49–55Google Scholar
  21. Rübsamen K, Engelhardt W von (1981) Absorption of Na, H ions and short chain fatty acids from the sheep colon. Pflügers Arch 391:Google Scholar
  22. Skadhauge E, Maloiy GMO (1978) The intestine and osmoregulation. Alfred Benzon Symposium XI. Munksgaard, Copenhagen, pp 325–337Google Scholar
  23. Staaland H (1975) Absorption of sodium, potassium and water in the colon of the Norway lemmingLemmus lemmus (L). Comp Biochem Physiol 52: 77–80Google Scholar
  24. Stevens CE, Stettler BK (1966) Transport of fatty acid mixtures across rumen epithelium. Am J Physiol 211: 264–271Google Scholar
  25. Umesaki Y, Yajima T, Yokokura T, Mutai M (1979) Effect of organic acid absorption on bicarbonate transport in rat colon. Pflügers Arch 379: 43–47Google Scholar
  26. Wills N, Biagi B (1982) Active potassium transport by rabbit descending colon epithelium. J Membr Biol 64: 195–203Google Scholar
  27. Yau WM, Makhlouf GM (1975) Comparison of transport mechanisms in isolated ascending and descending rat colon. Am J Physiol 228: 191–195Google Scholar
  28. Yorio T, Bentley PJ (1977) Permeability of the rabbit colon in vitro. Am J Physiol 232: F5-F9Google Scholar
  29. Zerbe GO, Archer PG, Banchero N, Lechner AJ (1982) On comparing regression lines with unequal slopes. Am J Physiol 242: 178–180Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Rübsamen
    • 1
  • I. D. Hume
    • 1
  • W. J. Foley
    • 1
  • U. Rübsamen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and NutritionThe University of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

Personalised recommendations