1. We studied intestinal glucose transport in pigs during the acute and convalescent phases of an invasive viral enteritis, transmissible gastroenteritis.
2. When diarrhoea was severe 40 h after experimental infection, net absorption of glucose, Na+ and water, measured by marker perfusion in the jejunum, was reduced; the enhancement of Na+ and water absorption in response to increasing perfusate glucose concentrations up to 120 mmol/l was diminished compared with the response observed in control and convalescent pigs.
3. Measured in vitro, 40 h after infection, unidirectional fluxes of 3-O-methyl-d-glucose across the jejunal epithelium were reduced and net absorption of the sugar was obliterated. Phlorizin (0.05 mmol/l), which completely inhibited net 3-O-methyl-d-glucose absorption in control tissue, had no significant effect on transmissible gastroenteritis jejunum.
4. Our data suggest that in this invasive viral enteritis, which closely resembles human rotavirus enteritis, glucose absorption is impaired as a result of defects in both active and passive glucose flux.
5. Differences between the mechanisms of viral diarrhoea, demonstrated by our study and those of the enterotoxigenic diarrhoeas, should be taken into consideration in formulating active therapeutic measures for children with acute viral diarrhoea.