The intestinal epithelium has important ion transport and barrier functions that contribute pivotally to normal physiological functioning of the intestine and other body systems. These functions are also frequently the target of dysfunction that, in turn, results in specific digestive disease states, such as diarrheal illnesses. Three emerging concepts are discussed with respect to ion transport: the complex interplay of intracellular signals that both activate and inhibit chloride secretion; the role of multiprotein complexes in the regulation of ion transport, taking sodium/hydrogen exchange as an example; and acute and chronic regulation of colonic sodium absorption, involving both sodium channel internalization and de novo synthesis of new channels. Similarly, recently obtained information about the molecular components of epithelial tight junctions and the ways in which tight junctions are regulated both in health and disease are discussed to exemplify ways to teach about intestinal barrier properties. Finally, both genetically determined intestinal diseases and those arising as a result of infections and/or inflammation are described, and these can be used as the means to enhance the basic and clinical relevance of teaching about intestinal epithelial physiology as well as the impact that the understanding of such physiology has had on associated therapeutics. The article also indicates, where relevant, how different approaches may be used effectively to teach related concepts to graduate versus medical/professional student audiences.


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    Student-centered instruction,Chemistry,Intestine,NSDL,NSDL_SetSpec_BEN,Ion,Education,Epithelial,Life Science,Teacher-centered/traditional instruction,Tutorial or self-directed instruction,Physics,Tight junction,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20090203234736380T



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