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The Journal of clinical investigation

Intestinal phospholipase, a novel enzyme.


PMID 7056853

Abstract

We evaluated phospholipase activity in the intestine of rats and other species. Phospholipase activity was assayed by a surface barostat technique or an egg yolk titration system. Mucosal activity was found only by the surface barostat technique with phosphatidylglycerol as substrate; it was not found with phosphatidylcholine as substrate in assays by either technique. In gut luminal fluid activity was found when both phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylglycerol were used as substrate in assays by the surface barostat technique, and phosphatidylcholine as substrate yielded activity in egg yolk titration. In rats in which pancreatic juice had been diverted, mucosal and gut luminal phospholipase activity was greater than in controls, thus demonstrating that enzyme activity was not due to pancreatic phospholipase. Bacterial origin of phospholipase activity was excluded in that phospholipase activity was found in germ-free rats; gastric and salivary gland origins were excluded in that continued phospholipase activity was found in rats with gastric fistula. The physiological importance of the enzyme was established by the finding that rats with pancreatic fistula absorbed 111 mumol of phosphatidylcholine and that controls absorbed 119 mumol of a 135-mumol load. Activity was found to be three times greater in the distal than in the proximal intestine; in cryptal cells it was 10 times greater than in villus tip cells. 65% of the activity in the gut lumen was tightly bound to particulate matter. We propose that intestinal phospholipase may be important in gut bacterial control, in the digestion of vegetable matter (phosphatidylglycerol is a major phospholipid in both plants and bacteria), and in the digestion of phospholipids in the gut lumen.

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