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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2001 Oct;33(4):477-82.

Growth hormone effects in intestinal adaptation after massive bowel resection in the suckling rat.

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  • 1General Surgery Service, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, Spain.



Massive small bowel resection provokes intestinal malabsorption that leads to diminished growth in the suckling rat. Growth hormone is one of the several factors that can enhance the adaptive response of the intestines in the adult rat; however, whether it also enhances postresection intestinal adaptation in the suckling rat, thus reducing the adverse effects of resection on growth, is still unclear.


Seventy-four 30-day-old suckling Wistar rats underwent 80% midgut bowel resection, laparotomy (sham operation), or no surgery. They were treated with either growth hormone or saline for 15 days and studied 15 or 45 days after surgery. Body weight was monitored and samples of bone and intestinal mucosa were obtained at the end of the study period for analysis.


Resected rats lost body and bone weight regardless of growth hormone administration. Bowel resection provoked significant increases in the proliferation and size of the intestinal mucosa. Growth hormone significantly, but just barely, increased crypt height and mucosal mass at day 15 after surgery, but not at day 45. Lengthening of the intestines was the main effect of growth hormone.


The relatively small adaptive response of intestines to growth hormone is insufficient to promote body growth after intestinal resection in the suckling rat. This response is lower than that in older rats and may reflect an age-related differential response to growth hormone.

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