The intestinal absorption of trivalent and hexavalent chromium (Cr) given orally (experiment I) or infused in the intestine (experiment II) was investigated in rats. The nonabsorbable form of chromium (51Cr2O3) and water-soluble and more absorbable Na251CrO4 (the hexavalent form of Cr) were compared. Total retention of chromium given orally ranged around 15 percent of the dose, regardless of the chromium compounds applied. The absorption rate of chromic oxide, which is considered a nonabsorbable compound, was 14.4 as a percentage of chromium intake. This result indicates that some loss of chromium has to be taken into account in metabolic trials made by the indicator method. In isolated rat intestine, from the injected Cr 2.5% of chromic oxide and 43.2% of sodium chromate were absorbed during an hour (experiment II). The absorbed chromium was transferred to the liver where the liver tissue retained 10.9% of chromic oxide and 51.1% of sodium chromate. Radioactivity of v. cava caudalis following intestinal injection of Na2CrO4 was thirtyfold greater than after Cr2O3 dosing. This phenomenon can be explained by the lower blood clearance of chromate. Different absorption rate of chromate depending on the route of administration could be due to the fact that the hexavalent form given orally was reduced to Cr3+ in the acidic environment of the stomach. When Na2CrO4 was infused directly in the intestine of rats, such reduction could not occur. This means that the acidic gastric juice might play a role in inhibiting the intestinal absorption of Na2CrO4 when this compound is given orally.
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