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Cell Membranes Problem Set

Problem 15: Oral rehydration

Tutorial to help answer the question

Oral rehydration therapy saves the lives of millions of victims of cholera and other diarrhea-producing diseases. This therapy, which requires feeding dilute salts and glucose, is successful because:
A. bacterial damage to intestinal transport of ions is reversed by glucose.
B. the active transport of glucose and sodium from the cell to the intestine is still intact.
C. the secondary active transport or cotransport systems of the intestine are still functioning.
D. the dilute salts and glucose cause removal of excess water from the body.
E. the dilute salts and glucose are hypotonic to the diarrhea-causing bacteria.


Process of cotransport


The diagram shows the process of cotransport. The key to success of oral re-hydration therapy is that the cotransport systems are not inactivated by the toxic proteins produced by bacteria.

Increasing ions and glucose by feeding the oral re-hydration solution results in the uptake of ions and glucose, followed by water. This technique dramatically reduces infant deaths.

Cotransport systems of the intestinal epithelial cells

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