Given the immeasurable human distress and health care burden associated with intestinal failure, medical therapies aimed at intestinal rehabilitation are needed. Following massive small-bowel resection, the residual intestine is known to adapt structurally and functionally in an attempt to compensate for the resected portion. However, parenteral nutrition may be associated with many short- and long-term complications, including prevention of intestinal adaptation and promotion of mucosal atrophy due to lack of stimulus provided by oral or enteral nutrition. However, data herein demonstrate that the addition of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid produced in the colon by dietary fiber fermentation, stimulates intestinal adaptation when added to parenteral nutrition, indicating that current solutions could be formulated to optimize intestinal adaptation and to reduce dependence of individuals with intestinal failure receiving long-term parenteral nutrition regimens.
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