Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 84–92 | Cite as

Sodium Butyrate Enhances Intestinal Riboflavin Uptake via Induction of Expression of Riboflavin Transporter-3 (RFVT3)

  • Veedamali S. Subramanian
  • Subrata Sabui
  • Christopher W. Heskett
  • Hamid M. SaidEmail author
Original Article



Uptake of riboflavin (RF) by intestinal epithelial cells occurs via a specific carrier-mediated process that involves the apically localized RF transporter-3 (RFVT3). Previous studies have shown that sodium butyrate (NaB) affects intestinal uptake of other substrates and expression of their membrane transporters, but its effect on intestinal uptake of RF and expression of RFVT3 has not been examined.


To investigate the effect of NaB on intestinal RF uptake process and expression of the RFVT3.


Two experimental models were used in this study: Human-derived intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells and ex vivo mouse colonoids. 3H-RF uptake assay, Western blot, RT-qPCR, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay were performed.


Treating Caco-2 cells with NaB led to a significant increase in carrier-mediated RF uptake. This increase was associated with a significant induction in the level of expression of the hRFVT3 protein, mRNA, and heterogenous nuclear RNA (hnRNA). Similarly, treating mouse colonoids with NaB led to a marked increase in the level of expression of the mRFVT3 protein, mRNA, and hnRNA. NaB did not affect hRFVT3 mRNA stability, rather it caused significant epigenetic changes (histone modifications) in the SLC52A3 gene where an increase in H3Ac and a reduction in H3K27me3 levels were observed in the NaB-treated Caco-2 cells compared to untreated controls.


These findings demonstrate that NaB up-regulates intestinal RF uptake and that the effect appears to be mediated, at least in part, at the level of transcription of the SLC52A3 gene and may involve epigenetic mechanism(s).


Riboflavin RFVT3 Intestine Sodium butyrate Colonoids 



This study was supported by Grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the NIH (Grants DK107474 to VSS, and DK58057, DK56057, and AA018071 to HMS).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veedamali S. Subramanian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Subrata Sabui
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christopher W. Heskett
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hamid M. Said
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Departments of Medicine and Physiology/BiophysicsUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  2. 2.VA Medical CenterLong BeachUSA

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