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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Digestion and Absorption in the Gastrointestinal Tract

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Absorption of Water in the Small Intestine

Isosmotic Absorption. Water is transported through theintestinal membrane entirely by diffusion.

Absorption of Water

Isosmotic Absorption. Water is transported through theintestinal membrane entirely by diffusion. Further-more, this diffusion obeys the usual laws of osmosis. Therefore, when the chyme is dilute enough, water is absorbed through the intestinal mucosa into the blood of the villi almost entirely by osmosis.

Conversely, water can also be transported in the opposite direction—from plasma into the chyme. This occurs especially when hyperosmotic solutions are dis-charged from the stomach into the duodenum. Within minutes, sufficient water usually will be transferred by osmosis to make the chyme isosmotic with the plasma.

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