Digestion in small intestine

Digestion in small intestine:

The proteolytic enzymes that exist in the intestinal juice are amino peptidase, enterokinase, prolidase and di and tri peptidases.

Enterokinase is an enzyme which activates trypsin in the existence of calcium. Aminopeptidases are able of removing one amino acid from the N terminal end of the peptide. They can’t hydrolyze the linkages of di-peptides or if the N terminal amino acid is proline. Prolidases are enzymes which hydrolyze linkages including proline.

So through the concerted action of all the above enzymes, proteins are spilt down to di and tri-peptides. Di and tri peptidases exist in the intestinal mucosal cells or in the absorptive cells cleave them to amino acids.

Absorption of amino acids:

Amino acids and small peptides which are absorbed will arrive at liver by the portal circulation.

Naturally taking place L-amino acids are absorbed actively, when D-amino acids are absorbed passively. Absorption of amino acids are identical to those of carbohydrates and they require a sodium ions and carrier.

Amino acids are absorbed through glutathione cycle.  The steps that involved in glutathione cycle are

1. Glutathione joints with amino acids to form ϒ -glutamyl amino acid and cysteinyl glycine.
2. ϒ-glutamyl amino acid is transported and hydrolyzed to oxo proline and L.amino acid, that is absorbed.
3. Cysteinyl glycine is cleaved to cysteine and glycine.
4. Oxoproline is transformed back to glutamate.
5. Glutamate, cysteine and glycine combine jointly and form glutathione.

Factors affecting absorption:

1. Dinitro phenol/cyanide decrease the absorption of amino acids.

2. Amino acids compete along with one other for absorption. High concentrations of one amino acid decrease the absorption of the others.

3. Glutathione is required to absorb the amino acids through glutathione cycle.


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