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Exp Physiol. 2005 Nov;90(6):901-8. Epub 2005 Sep 5.

Intestinal effects of long-lasting spermine ingestion by suckling rats.

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Department of Biochemistry and General Physiology, University of Liege, Institute of Chemistry B6c, B-4000 Liege (Sart-Tilman), Belgium.


Spermine ingestion induces the precocious maturation of the small intestine in suckling rats. Previous observations suggest that spermine-induced intestinal maturation is a two-step phenomenon. The first step is the elimination of immature enterocytes (4-10 h post spermine ingestion) and the second step is the replacement of previous immature cells by adult-type enterocytes (2-3 days post initial spermine administration). The spermine-induced maturation is reversible when spermine administration is stopped. This work was undertaken in order to check whether the extension of polyamine administration (for 3-7 days) after the appearance of spermine-induced maturation can retain the mature state of the small intestine. Our results indicate that extension of spermine administration does not prevent some parameters (sucrase and maltase specific activities) reverting to a typical 'immature' value while others remain at a typical 'mature' level (mucosal weight and lactase specific activity). Our results show that there are at least two different mechanisms in required for the control of spermine-induced maturation of the small intestine.

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