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Community Health Sciences


Background & objectives: Malnutrition plays an important role in the intestinal absorption of nutrients. However, reports are not consistent whether intestinal enzymes are decreased in the presence of malnutrition. It is also not clear whether simultaneous presence of malnutrition and infection adds to the problem of malabsorption of nutrients. The aim of the present study was to determine intestinal functions in terms of concentrations of disaccharidase enzymes during diarrhoea and protein energy malnutrition. Methods: Concentrations of three disaccharidase enzymes, namely maltase, sucrase and lactase were measured in nine energy-restricted and five control rabbits during diarrhoea induced by rabbit diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (RDEC-1). Malnutrition was achieved in the rabbit model by feeding the animals for 30 days with half the amount of food fed to well-nourished control rabbits. Both the energy-restricted and the control groups were challenged by RDEC-1. Diarrhoea occurred on day 1-7 after administration of the strain. After onset of diarrhoea, both groups of rabbits were sacrificed and their intestinal mucosa was examined to determine the concentration of lactase, maltase and sucrase. Results: The energy-restricted animals and controls did not differ significantly for concentrations (units/mg proteins) of lactase (0.65 +/- 0.28 vs 0.56 +/- 0.17), maltase (6.20 +/- 2.70 vs 6.47 +/- 1.90) and sucrase (5.42 +/- 2.30 vs 5.13 +/- 1.40) measured during acute infectious diarrhoea. Interpretation & conclusion: The results suggested that the enzymatic functions of the intestinal brush border were not statistically different during diarrhoea among malnourished rabbits compared with their well-nourished counterparts.

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Indian Journal of Medical Research





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