Determination of cholesterol absorption in man by intestinal perfusion

Scott M Grundy, H. Y I Mok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


In this study a technique is described for estimating net absorption of total cholesterol (endogenous + exogenous) that enters the intestine. The method employs intubation of patients with a 3-lumen tube that contains a 10-cm mixing segment in the duodenum and a 100-cm absorption segment in the jejunum. A liquid formula diet containing varying amounts of exogenous cholesterol is infused continuously into the upper duodenum for a period of several hours; the formula diet stimulates constant contraction of the gallbladder and thus provides for continuous secretion of biliary cholesterol into the duodenum. Through constant infusion of α-sitosterol over the net 100-cm of jejunum. When radioactive cholesterol was also used as a marker, radioactivity usually disappeared more rapidly than the mass of cholesterol over the absorption segment; this suggests that a significant amount of isotope exchange occurs in the upper intestine. Using β-sitosterol as a marker, the extent of exchange can be determined. In six patients, cholesterol inputs ranged from 51 to 118 mg/hr, and net percentage absorption was 34-56%. When inputs of cholesterol were acutely increased by enhancing exogenous cholesterol, absolute absorption either remained the same or was decreased somewhat. Changing inputs of β-sitosterol had a striking effect on cholesterol absorption, and relatively small increments of β- sitosterol almost always produced corresponding reductions in uptake of cholesterol. The intestinal perfusion method appears to provide certain advantages over previous techniques for estimating cholesterol absorption in man. It measures absorption of total cholesterol entering the upper intestine, including that derived from both endogenous and exogenous sources. Measurements can be made over short periods of time, and the method allows for determination of effects of acute changes in the intestinal milieu on cholesterol absorption. Finally, the technique defines the extent of isotope exchange between cholesterol in the intestinal mucosa and in the lumen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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