Influence of nutrient delivery on gut structure and function.

L. E. Bragg, J. S. Thompson, L. F. Rikkers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Food is an important stimulus for the growth of gastrointestinal mucosa. Gut structure is influenced by the route of nutrient administration, dietary composition and the availability of specific nutrients. The alterations in intestinal structure and function that occur when enteral nutrition is withheld suggests that the ingestion of food results in physiologic responses that are responsible for the maintenance of gut mass during the fed state. The mechanism of mucosal suppression that occurs during starvation, stress, and total parenteral nutrition is not completely understood but may involve the absence of luminal substrates, decreased pancreaticobiliary secretions and alterations in the endocrine or paracrine events that normally accompany eating, digestion, and absorption. Enterocytes prefer glutamine and ketone bodies as oxidative fuels, whereas colonocytes utilize short chain fatty acids. Although enteral delivery of nutrients is the preferred route for maintenance of intestinal mass, provision of specific nutrients and hormonal stimulation during parenteral alimentation has been shown to be important in maintaining mucosal structure and function. If not adequately maintained, the intestine becomes susceptible to a variety of injuries which may result in impaired ability to digest and absorb nutrients and loss of mucosal barrier function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-243
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of nutrient delivery on gut structure and function.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this