Disruption of retinoblastoma protein expression in the intestinal epithelium impairs lipid absorption

Pamela M. Choi, Jun Guo, Christopher R. Erwin, Wambui S. Wandu, Jennifer A. Leinicke, Yan Xie, Nicholas O. Davidson, Brad W. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We previously demonstrated increased villus height following genetic deletion, or knockout, of retinoblastoma protein (Rb in the intestinal epithelium (Rb-IKO. Here we determined the functional consequences of augmented mucosal growth on intestinal fat absorption and following a 50% small bowel resection (SBR. Mice with constitutively disrupted Rb expression in the intestinal epithelium (Rb-IKO along with their floxed (wild-type, WT littermates were placed on a high-fat diet (HFD, 42% kcal fat for 54 wk. Mice were weighed weekly, and fat absorption, indirect calorimetry, and MRI body composition were measured. Rb-IKO mice were also subjected to a 50% SBR, followed by HFD feeding for 33 wk. In separate experiments, we examined intestinal fat absorption in mice with conditional (tamoxifen-inducible intestinal Rb (inducible Rb-IKO deletion. Microarray revealed that the transcriptional expression of lipid absorption/transport genes was significantly reduced in constitutive Rb-IKO mice. These mice demonstrated greater mucosal surface area yet manifested paradoxically impaired intestinal long-chain triglyceride absorption and decreased cholesterol absorption. Despite attenuated lipid absorption, there were no differences in metabolic rate, body composition, and weight gain in Rb-IKO and WT mice at baseline and following SBR. We also confirmed fat malabsorption in inducible Rb-IKO mice. We concluded that, despite an expanded mucosal surface area, Rb-IKO mice demonstrate impaired lipid absorption without compensatory alterations in energy homeostasis or body composition. These findings underscore the importance of delineating structural/functional relationships in the gut and suggest a previously unknown role for Rb in the regulation of intestinal lipid absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G909-G915
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • CD36
  • Fat metabolism
  • Retinoblastoma protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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