After massive small bowel resection, the remnant gut epithelium undergoes an adaptive response marked by an increase in villus height, crypt depth, and crypt cell production rate. Although morphological features of gut adaptation have been well characterized, the differentiation status and response of epithelial cells populating the adaptive villus is unclear. To address these issues, cell-specific and spatial patterns of expression of a set of enterocytic genes were characterized in rats after 70% small bowel resection. The liver and intestinal (I) fatty acid binding protein (FABP) and apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I) and ape A-IV genes were studied because they exhibit unique regional and cell-specific patterns of expression in the developing and adult gut. At 48 h after surgery, ape A-IV and I-FABP mRNA levels were increased up to 3.5-fold in adaptive remnant ileum compared with sham-operated or sham-resected control ileum. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analyses revealed a marked increase in enterocytic ape A- IV mRNA and protein expression in the adaptive ileum, from villus base to tip but not in crypts. By 1 wk after resection, apo A-IV, but not I-FABP, mRNA levels remained elevated in remnant ileum, although duodenal I-FABP mRNA levels were still increased. In contrast, apo A-I mRNA levels were not significantly induced. These results indicate that the enterocyte can respond acutely to loss of small bowel surface area by increasing expression of several genes. This compensatory enterocytic response is spatially (from duodenum to ileum) and temporally regulated. These results suggest initiation of the adaptive response occurs by way era complex set of molecular pathways involving villus and crypt cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G143-G152
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1 33-1
StatePublished - 1996


  • apolipoproteins
  • fatty acid binding protein
  • intestinal gene expression
  • small bowel resection


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