Zinc absorption was evaluated six weeks after massive small-bowel resection in rats. Forty rats were divided into four groups. Ten were subjected to proximal small-bowel resection, 10 to distal resection, and 20 served as pair-fed controls. Intestinal perfusion studies were performed using a recirculation technique. Twenty ml of a solution containing 10 μg/ml of zinc as zinc sulfate, isotonic sodium chloride, and polyethylene glycol 5 g/liter was perfused for 2 hr through 10 cm of remaining bowel in resected animals and comparable segments in control animals. Zinc uptake was determined and expressed per 0.1 g mucosal dry weight. In control animals, zinc absorption was greatest in the ileum. Animals undergoing distal bowel resection had a compensatory increase in zinc absorption in the proximal small intestine. However, animals undergoing proximal resection did not demonstrate an increase in zinc absorption in the distal bowel. The proximal small intestine appears capable of increasing its capacity for zinc absorption in the response to distal small-bowel resection.
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