Published online Mar 21, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i11.1657
Revised: July 25, 2005
Accepted: October 26, 2005
Published online: March 21, 2006
Carbohydrates are an important component of the diet. The carbohydrates that we ingest range from simple monosaccharides (glucose, fructose and galactose) to disaccharides (lactose, sucrose) to complex polysaccharides. Most carbohydrates are digested by salivary and pancreatic amylases, and are further broken down into monosaccharides by enzymes in the brush border membrane (BBM) of enterocytes. For example, lactase-phloridzin hydrolase and sucrase-isomaltase are two disaccharidases involved in the hydrolysis of nutritionally important disaccharides. Once monosaccharides are presented to the BBM, mature enterocytes expressing nutrient transporters transport the sugars into the enterocytes. This paper reviews the early studies that contributed to the development of a working model of intestinal sugar transport, and details the recent advances made in understanding the process by which sugars are absorbed in the intestine.