The absorption of volatile fatty acids (VFA) and the influence of VFA on the net transport of inorganic electrolytes and water were examined in the temporarily isolated colon of the conscious goat. Perfusion of the colon with a solution similar in content to that normally present in the cecal outflow showed that the net absorption of VFA was more rapid than that of any other ion present in the solution. When the VFA were replaced with Cl, the net absorption of Na and water was reduced nearly twofold. Increasing the pH of the solution from 6.0 to 7.4 in the presence of VFA also resulted in a twofold decreased in the net transport of Na and water. Perfusion of the colon with a hypertonic solution resulted in approximately zero net water transport; however, the net absorption of Na and VFA continued at similar rates as before. These results support the concept that the colon primarily conserves solute followed by the passive movement of water. They also demonstrate that VFA are rapidly absorbed from the goat colon and indicate a striking influence of VFA on the net transport of Na and water. The presence of VFA in the large intestine may be important for normal absorptive function.
- Copyright © 1975 by American Physiological Society