Important first steps have been taken towards establishing how some nutrients interact with genes and affect intestinal adaptation. These mechanisms may be typical of how other nutrients influence cell function and turnover and help to maintain intestinal integrity. The dietary effects of nucleotides on intestinal cell mucosa act at the gene transcription level. The dietary effects of nucleotides on immune suppression also may act through similar mechanisms. The effects of the other trophic agents may interact at this level or at other levels. Scientific interest in how the various trophic factors work to maintain and repair the gastrointestinal tract is manifested by a growing body of research that demonstrates potential mechanisms for nutrient-gene interaction and how such interactions affect intestinal development and turnover. It seems clear that intestinal gene transcription and the activity of transcription factors are at least sometimes directly related to nutrition. The techniques of molecular biology now permit the exploration and explanation of how dietary factors, such as glutamine, SCFAs, and nucleotides, affect normal and pathologic intestinal mucosal development, function, adaptation, and repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-469
Number of pages19
JournalPediatric Clinics of North America
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


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