Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a frequent complication after intestinal resection in infants suffering from intestinal disease. We tested whether treatment with the intestinotrophic hormone glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) increases intestinal volume and function in the period immediately following intestinal resection in preterm pigs. Preterm pigs were fed enterally for 48 h before undergoing resection of 50% of the small intestine and establishment of a jejunostomy. Following resection, pigs were maintained on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) without (SBS, n = 8) or with GLP-2 treatment (3.5 μg/kg body wt per h, SBS+GLP-2, n = 7) and compared with a group of unresected preterm pigs (control, n = 5). After 5 days of TPN, all piglets were fed enterally for 24 h, and a nutrient balance study was performed. Intestinal resection was associated with markedly reduced endogenous GLP-2 levels. GLP-2 increased the relative absorption of wet weight (46 vs. 22%), energy (79 vs. 64%), and all macronutrients (all parameters P <0.05). These findings were supported by a 200% increase in sucrase and maltase activities, a 50% increase in small intestinal epithelial volume (P <0.05), as well as increased DNA and protein contents and increased total protein synthesis rate in SBS+GLP-2 vs. SBS pigs (+100%, P <0.05). Following intestinal resection in preterm pigs, GLP-2 induced structural and functional adaptation, resulting in a higher relative absorption of fluid and macronutrients. GLP-2 treatment may be a promising therapy to enhance intestinal adaptation and improve digestive function in preterm infants with jejunostomy following intestinal resection.
American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 2013, Vol 305, Issue 4