Experimental Animal Nutrition
Objectives : Intestinal Ca2+ absorption early in life is vital to achieving optimal bone mineralization. The molecular details of intestinal Ca2+ absorption have been defined in adults, after peak bone mass has been reached, but are largely unexplored during development. We sought to delineate the molecular details of transcellular Ca2+ absorption across the small intestine which facilitate a positive calcium balance during growth.
Methods : We used wildtype, Cav1.3 knockout and Trpv6 mutant mice. Expression of small intestinal and renal calcium transport genes was assessed using quantitative PCR. Net transcellular 45-calcium flux across intestinal segments was measured in Ussing chambers. Femurs we analyzed using micro-CT and histology.
Results : Significant TRPV6 mediated Ca2+ flux across the duodenum was absent in pre-weaned (P14) mice but occurred post-weaning. In contrast, we found significant transcellular Ca2+ absorption in the jejunum and ileum at P14 but not 2 months. TRPV6 and Cav1.3 are necessary for this jejunal absorption and Cav1.3 appears to mediate absorption across the ileum although compensation is present in knockout pups. Knockout of Cav1.3 induces a compensatory increase in renal Ca2+ reabsorption in P14 mice although these pups have increased growth plate thickness suggesting delayed bone mineralization.
Conclusions : This work provides molecular details of how the small intestine facilitates increased demand for Ca2+ early in life to meet the requirements of growth and highlights the complexity of the multiple mechanisms involved in achieving a positive Ca2+ balance.
Funding Sources : This work is funded by grants from the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute, supported by the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council to RTA, who is the Canada Research Chair in Renal Epithelial Transport Physiology. MRB is supported by a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Alberta Innovates Clinician Fellowship and an NSERC Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement. H. Dimke is funded by the Danish Medical Research Council. Work at UdS was funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) by IRTG1830 (to JE, VF), Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB) 894 (to JE, PW) and SFB TRR152 (to VF).