Use of inert gases and carbon monoxide to study the possible influence of countercurrent exchange on passive absorption from the small bowel

J. H. Bond, D. G. Levitt, Michael D Levitt

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Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to quantitate the influence of countercurrent exchange on passive absorption of highly diffusible substances from the small intestine of the rabbit. The absorption of carbon monoxide, which is tightly bound to hemoglobin and therefore cannot exchange, was compared to the absorption of 4 unbound gases (H2, He, CH4, and 133Xe), which should exchange freely. The degree to which the observed absorption of the unbound gases falls below that predicted from CO absorption should provide a quantitative measure of countercurrent exchange. CO uptake at high luminal Pco is flow limited and, assuming that villus and central hemoglobin concentrations are equal, the flow that equilibrates with CO (Fco) was calculated to equal 7.24 ml/min/100 g. The observed absorption rate of the unbound gases was from 2 to 4 times greater than would have been predicted had their entire uptake been accounted for by equilibration with Fco. This is the opposite of what would occur if countercurrent exchange retarded absorption of the unbound gases. The unbound gases have both flow and diffusion limited components, and Fco should account for only the fraction of absorption that is flow limited. A simple model of perfusion and diffusion made it possible to calculate the fraction of the total uptake of unbound gases that was flow limited. This fraction of the total observed absorption rate was still about 1.8 times greater than predicted by CO absorption. A possible explanation for this discrepancy is that plasma skimming reduces the hemoglobin of villus blood to about 60% of that of central blood. Thus, Fco is actually about 1.7 times greater than calculated, calculated., and with this correction, there is close agreement between the predicted and observed rates of absorption of each of the unbound gases. It is concluded that countercurrent exchange does not influence passive absorption under the conditions of this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1259-1265
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Volume54
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1974

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Noble Gases
Carbon Monoxide
Gases
Hemoglobins
Small Intestine

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Use of inert gases and carbon monoxide to study the possible influence of countercurrent exchange on passive absorption from the small bowel. / Bond, J. H.; Levitt, D. G.; Levitt, Michael D.

In: Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vol. 54, No. 6, 01.01.1974, p. 1259-1265.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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