J. Collins, D. C. A. Candy, W. G. Starkey, A. J. Spencer, M. P. Osborne, J. Stephen

Disaccharidase Activities in Small Intestine of Rotavirus‐Infected Suckling Mice

  • Gastroenterology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health

SummaryA histochemical study of the time course of the appearance and location of lactase and α‐glucosidase (used to detect sucrase and maltase) activities was carried out on control and rotavirus‐infected mice from 7 to 14 days old. The overall pattern of enzyme activity was in agreement with previous quantitative studies on the activities of these enzymes. No evidence was obtained to support the idea that lactase deficiency was the result of repopulation of villi (denuded of lactase‐producing villus cells) with immature lactase‐negative cells. Low lactase activity was more likely to reflect profound changes in metabolically crippled cells, and recovery of lactase activity with recovery of normal metabolic functions. The location of enzyme activity to brush border regions rather than the cytoplasm of villus enterocytes enhances the significance of previous quantitative studies on these enzymes. The timing and duration of diminished lactase activities were such that they were unlikely to cause the induction or perpetuation of diarrhea in murine rotavirus diarrhea. The appearance in infected animals of α‐glucosidase 3 days earlier than normal indicates that, in addition to reversible changes seen with lactase, developmental changes were accelerated that affected both crypt and villus cells.

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