Anti-apoptotic PI3K/Akt signaling by sodium/glucose transporter 1 reduces epithelial barrier damage and bacterial translocation in intestinal ischemia

Ching-Ying Huang, Jong-Kai Hsiao, Yen Zhen Lu, Tsung-Chun Lee, Linda C-H Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Intestinal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) causes mucosal barrier damage and bacterial translocation (BT), leading to septic complications. Previous in vitro studies showed that activation of sodium/glucose transporter 1 (SGLT1) prevented the epithelial apoptosis and permeability rise induced by microbial products. Our aim was to investigate whether luminal glucose uptake by SGLT1 protects against ischemia-induced epithelial cell death and barrier dysfunction, and to explore the glucose-mediated cellular survival pathways in vivo. Rat jejunum was luminally instilled with either vehicle, a pancaspase inhibitor ZVAD, or glucose prior to I/R challenge (occlusion of the superior mesenteric artery for 20 min and reperfusion for 60 min). Histopathology and apoptosis in the jejunum were examined by TUNEL staining and caspase-3 cleavage. Intestinal permeability was evaluated using in vivo assays measuring luminal-to-blood passage of fluorescein-dextran and portal drainage of enterally administered gadodiamide by magnetic resonance imaging. BT was determined by culturing liver and spleen homogenates. Immunofluorescent analysis and kinase assay were used to study PI3K/Akt signaling pathways. Intestinal I/R caused enterocyte apoptosis and villous destruction. Intestinal infusion with ZVAD decreased the I/R-triggered gut permeability rise and BT, suggesting that the barrier damage was partly dependent on cell apoptosis. Enteral instillation of glucose attenuated the epithelial apoptosis, barrier damage, and mucosal inflammation caused by I/R. Phloridzin (a SGLT1 inhibitor) reduced the protective effect of glucose in a dose-dependent manner. Enteral glucose increased the mucosal Akt kinase activity as evidenced by the augmented phosphorylation of exogenous GSK3. Enhanced membrane translocation and phosphorylation of Akt in epithelial cells were associated with elevated phosphorylation of mTOR, Bad, and FoxO1/3a following glucose uptake. Inhibition of PI3K/Akt signaling by LY294002 and wortmannin partially blocked the glucose-mediated rescue of cell apoptosis and barrier damage. In conclusion, SGLT1 glucose uptake alleviated I/R-induced barrier dysfunction and BT, partly by inhibiting epithelial apoptosis via activation of PI3K/Akt signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-309
Number of pages16
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Apoptosis/physiology
  • Caspase 3/metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Glucose/metabolism
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Intestinal Mucosa/pathology
  • Jejunum/cytology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt/metabolism
  • Permeability
  • Phlorhizin/pharmacology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases/metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reperfusion Injury/metabolism
  • Signal Transduction/physiology
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 1/antagonists & inhibitors


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