1. Absorption of [3H]glycine and [14C]-glycyl-l-proline at concentrations between 0·5 and 4 mmol/l was studied by perfusion in vivo of rat jejunal and ileal segments. Absorption was defined as net removal of radioisotope from the perfusate. Radioactivity assays and amino acid analyses were performed on perfusates and on mucosal tissue samples obtained from the perfused segments.
2. At the concentrations studied, absorption rates of glycine and glycylproline were proportional to concentration. Ileal rates were approximately 60% of jejunal rates. Glycylproline absorption was slightly faster than glycine absorption and was associated with the appearance in the perfusate of free glycine and proline in the ratio approximately 3:1. Intraluminal hydrolysis was insufficient to account for the amounts of free amino acids found and glycylproline hydrolase activity at the brush border is known to be minimal.
3. Glycylproline absorption apparently occurred by transport of the intact peptide followed by its intracellular hydrolysis. However, more than one-third of absorbed glycine and one-eighth of absorbed proline returned to the lumen as free amino acid. This reflux of glycine and proline was not proportional to their concentrations in the mucosa.