Enterocyte

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Enterocyte
Cell enterocyte.png
Schematic drawing of an enterocyte: the intestinal lumen is above the brush border.
Details
LocationSmall intestine
Shapesimple columnar
FunctionEpithelial cells
Identifiers
Latinenterocytus
MeSHD020895
THH3.04.03.0.00006
Anatomical terms of microanatomy

Enterocytes, or intestinal absorptive cells, are simple columnar epithelial cells which line the inner surface of the small intestine. A glycocalyx surface coat contains digestive enzymes. Microvilli on the apical surface increase its surface area. This facilitates transport of numerous small molecules into the enterocyte from the intestinal lumen. These include broken down proteins, fats, and sugars, as well as water, electrolytes, vitamins, and bile salts. Enterocytes also have a endocrine role, secreting hormones such as leptin.

Function[edit]

The major functions of enterocytes include:[1]

Disorders[edit]

  • Dietary fructose intolerance occurs when there is a deficiency in the amount of fructose carrier.
  • Lactose intolerance is the most common problem of carbohydrate digestion and occurs when the human body doesn't produce a sufficient amount of lactase (a disaccharidase) enzyme to break down the sugar lactose found in dairy. As a result of this deficiency, undigested lactose is not absorbed and is instead passed on to the colon. There bacteria metabolize the lactose and in doing so release gas and metabolic products that enhance colonic motility. This causes gas and other uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Cholera toxin may increase the secretion or decrease the intake of water and electrolytes, leading to possibly severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.[2]
  • Rotavirus selectively invades and kills mature enterocytes in the small intestine.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ross, M.H. & Pawlina, W. 2003. Histology: A Text and Atlas, 4th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.
  2. ^ Joaquín Sánchez, Jan Holmgren (February 2011). "Cholera toxin – A foe & a friend" (PDF). Indian Journal of Medical Research. 133. p. 158.
  3. ^ Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, Chapter 17, 749-819

External links[edit]

  • Histology image: 11706loa – Histology Learning System at Boston University - "Digestive System: Alimentary Canal — jejunum, goblet cells and enterocytes"