Enterocyte metabolism during early adaptation after extensive intestinal resection in a rat model

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A better knowledge of intestinal adaptation after resection is required to improve the nutritional support that is given to patients. The aim of this study was to understand the metabolic changes underlying early adaptation after massive intestinal resection.


Rats were assigned to either 80% intestinal resection or transection. All animals received the same intragastric nutrition. On day 8, plasma glutamine turnover was measured. Substrate use was determined on isolated enterocytes that were incubated in the presence of D-[U-14C] glucose (2 mmol/L), L-[U-14C] glutamine (2 mmol/L), L-[U-14C] arginine (1 mmol/L), or L-[1-14C] ornithine (1 mmol/L).


Plasma glutamine turnover was similar in both groups. The rate of enterocyte glutamine use was significantly increased in the resection group, although the maximal glutaminase activity was unchanged. Glutathione generation was enhanced 3-fold in remnant intestine as compared with transected intestine (P <.05). L-ornithine decarboxylation was increased markedly in resected animals (P <.05), without any detectable change of maximal ornithine decarboxylase activity.


The early phase of intestinal adaptation after resection induces changes in enterocyte glutamine and ornithine metabolism that may be related, in part, to increased de novo polyamine synthesis. This observation suggests that a supplementation of artificial nutrition by nutrients that lead to the generation of trophic agents may be of potential interest.

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