The intestinal epithelium is able to adapt to varying blood flow and, thus, oxygen availability. Still, the adaptation fails under pathologic situations. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the epithelial adaptation to hypoxia could help to improve the therapeutic approach. We hypothesized that the short-term adaptation to hypoxia is mediated via AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and that it is coupled to the long-term adaptation by a common regulation mechanism, the HIF-hydroxylase enzymes. Further, we hypothesized the transepithelial transport of glucose to be part of this short-term adaptation. We conducted Ussing chamber studies using isolated lagomorph jejunum epithelium and cell culture experiments with CaCo-2 cells. The epithelia and cells were incubated under 100% and 21% O2, respectively, with the panhydroxylase inhibitor dimethyloxalylglycine (DMOG) or under 1% O2. We showed an activation of AMPK under hypoxia and after incubation with DMOG by Western blot. This could be related to functional effects like an impairment of Na+-coupled glucose transport. Inhibitor studies revealed a recruitment of glucose transporter 1 under hypoxia, but not after incubation with DMOG. Summing up, we showed an influence of hydroxylase enzymes on AMPK activity and similarities between hypoxia and the effects of hydroxylase inhibition on functional changes.
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