Many advances in the study of nutrient absorption have been made with the use of molecular and genetic techniques; however, standard in vivo studies have provided interesting and important new information. Omega-3 long-chain fatty acids have unexpected effects on lipoprotein formation and secretion in neonatal intestinal cells; this needs to be considered in the modification of infant formulas. Rexinoids affect intestinal cholesterol homeostasis via two receptors: retinoic acid receptor/liver X receptor (cholesterol efflux to lumen) and retinoic acid receptor/farnesoid X receptor (cholesterol catabolism). Absorption of the antioxidant plant polyphenol quercetin involves interaction with the glucose transporter and deglycolsylation and conjugation reactions. Cells of the polarized human colon cancer cell line, CaCo-2, take up phenylalanine by two mechanisms: passive uptake across the basolateral membrane, and temperature-dependent transcellular movement from apical to basolateral media. Absorption of vitamins A and E is markedly enhanced in normal and damaged intestine by the administration of restructured triacylglycerols derived from fish oil and medium-chain fatty acids. Surprisingly, dietary protein and phosphorus apparently have no significant effect on the efficiency of calcium absorption in adult women. Finally, many studies examined a variety of genes that regulate iron absorption and homeostasis.
*Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, and †Department of Physiology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
Correspondence to David F. Nutting, PhD, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 951 Court Ave., Room 555 Dobbs, Memphis, TN 38163, USA; e-mail: email@example.com