Brush border membrane vesicles from rats and gerbils can be utilized to evaluate the intestinal uptake of all-trans and 9-cis β-carotene

Amy C. Moore, Eric T. Gugger, John W. Erdman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Intestinal brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV) have previously been used to investigate the absorptive processes of a wide variety of nutrients. The first objective of this work was to develop a BBMV system to study carotenoid uptake using rat small intestine. The uptake of all-trans β- carotene by rat BBMV was linear up to 5.9 μmol/L, suggesting passive uptake at the concentrations used in this study. Both all-trans β-carotene and 9- cis β-carotene were taken up at a similar rate by the rat BBMV. The vesicle system was then utilized to investigate the uptake of retinol and β-carotene by BBMV isolated from Mongolian gerbils which had been subjected to three different vitamin A depletion and refeeding protocols. Three groups of gerbils (n = 10/group) were fed vitamin A-deficient diets for 8 wk. One group was killed at that point (marginally depleted), a second group was refed vitamin A for 5 d and a third group was further depleted of vitamin A for 5 d. Pooled BBMV from the marginally depleted group demonstrated greater uptake of all-trans β-carotene than pooled BBMV from the other two groups of gerbils while those from the group refed vitamin A for 5 d had greater uptake than the group that was depleted for 5 additional days (P < 0.01). In contrast, the uptake of retinol by BBMV was not significantly different among the three groups of gerbils. The results of the gerbil study suggest that as they become increasingly vitamin A deficient, impairment of all-trans β- carotene uptake by intestinal mucosal cells may be taking place. The BBMV system should prove valuable for the evaluation of the intestinal mucosal cell membrane uptake of carotenoids and retinoids under various nutritional conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2904-2912
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 1996


  • gerbils
  • intestinal absorption
  • rats
  • vitamin A
  • β-carotene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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