The effects of mucosally added Escherichia coli
heat stable enterotoxin (STa 30 ng ml-1
) on the basal short-circuit current (Isc in μA cm-2
) across stripped and unstripped sheets of jejuna and ilea taken from fed, starved (4 days, water ad lib) and undernourished (50% control food intake for 21 days) gerbil ( Gerbillus cheesmani
) were investigated. The effect of neurotoxin tetrodotoxin (TTX 10 μM) and the effects of replacing chloride by gluconate or the effects of removing bicarbonate from bathing buffers on the maximum increase in Isc induced by STa were also investigated. The maximum increase in Isc which resulted from the addition of STa were significantly higher in jejuna and ilea taken from starved and undernourished gerbils when compared with the fed control both using stripped and unstripped sheets. In the two regions of the small intestine taken from fed and starved animals TTX reduced the maximum increase in Isc induced by STa across unstripped sheets only. Moreover in jejuna and ilea taken from undernourished gerbils TTX reduced significantly the maximum increase in Isc induced by STa across stripped and unstripped sheets. Replacing chloride by gluconate decreased the maximum increase in Isc induced by STa across jejuna and ilea taken from undernourished gerbils only. Removing bicarbonates from bathing buffer decreased the maximum increase in Isc across the jejuna and ilea taken from starved and undernourished gerbils.