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Pigs are capable of nitrogen salvage via urea recycling, which involves the movement of urea into the gastrointestinal tract. Aquaporins (AQP) and urea transporter B (UT-B) are involved in urea-recycling in ruminants; however, their contribution to urea flux in the intestinal tract of the pig is not known. The objective of this study was to characterize the presence and relative contribution of known urea transporters to urea flux in the growing pig. Intestinal tissue samples (duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, and colon) were obtained from 9 barrows (50.8 ± 0.9 kg) and analyzed for mRNA abundance of UT-B and AQP-3, 7, and 10. Immediately after tissue collection, samples from the jejunum and cecum were placed in Ussing chambers for analysis of the serosal-to-mucosal urea flux (J) with no inhibition or when incubated in the presence of phloretin to inhibit UT-B-mediated transport, NiCl to inhibit AQP-mediated transport, or both inhibitors. UT-B expression was greatest ( < 0.05) in the cecum, whereas AQP-3, 7, and 10 expression was greatest ( < 0.05) in the jejunum. The J was greater in the cecum than the jejunum (67.8 vs. 42.7 ± 5.01 µmol/cm/h; < 0.05) confirming the capacity for urea recycling into the gut in pigs; however, flux rate was not influenced ( > 0.05) by urea transporter inhibitors. The results of this study suggest that while known urea transporters are expressed in the gastrointestinal tract of pigs, they may not play a significant functional role in transepithelial urea transport.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology
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