Patchy expression of lactase protein in adult rabbit and rat intestine

Luigi Maiuri, Mauro Rossi, Valeria Raia, Sabato D'Auria, Dallas Swallow, Andrea Quaroni, Salvatore Auricchio

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Enzymatic and immunohistological analyses of lactase were performed at different stages of development and within different regions of the small intestine of the rabbit and rat. As previously reported, there seems to be a sharp decline of lactase activity on weaning but variable and higher levels of activity are seen in adult animals. Two monoclonal antibodies to rat lactase were available to study the protein in rats. Four monoclonal antibodies to human lactase were shown to cross-react with rabbit lactase and used for the rabbit studies. Immunohistological analysis of small intestine of adult rabbits and rats showed residual lactase protein within the enterocytes throughout the small intestine. In the middle of the small intestine (lower jejunum, upper ileum), uniform staining of the brush border was observed. In the proximal and distal regions, a patchy pattern of staining was observed. This pattern, which resembles that observed in adult hypolactasic humans, indicates an underlying heterogeneity of enterocyte differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1739-1746
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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