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Pediatr Surg Int. 2008 Dec;24(12):1313-21. doi: 10.1007/s00383-008-2272-z.

Dietary palmitic acid modulates intestinal re-growth after massive small bowel resection in a rat.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery and Pediatrics, Bnai Zion Medical Center, Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, 47 Golomb St., P.O. Box 4940, Haifa, 31048, Israel.



Among factors promoting intestinal adaptation after bowel resection, dietary fatty acids have a special role. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of palmitic acid (PA) on early intestinal adaptation in rats with short bowel syndrome (SBS).


Male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent either a bowel transection with re-anastomosis (sham rats) or 75% small bowel resection (SBS rats). Animals were randomly assigned to one of four groups: sham rats fed normal chow (sham-NC); SBS rats fed NC (SBS-NC), SBS rats fed high palmitic acid diet (SBS-HPA), and SBS rats fed low palmitic acid diet (SBS-LPA). Rats were sacrificed on day 14. Parameters of intestinal adaptation, overall bowel and mucosal weight, mucosal DNA and protein, villus height and crypt depth, cell proliferation and apoptosis were determined at sacrifice. RT-PCR and Western blotting were used to determine the level of bax and bcl-2 mRNA and protein (parameters of apoptosis), and ERK protein levels (parameter of proliferation). Statistical analysis was performed using Kruskal-Wallis test followed by post hoc test for multiple comparisons with P values of less than 0.05 considered statistically significant.


SBS-HFD rats demonstrated higher bowel and mucosal weight, mucosal DNA and protein in ileum, while deprivation of PA (SBS-LPA) inhibited intestinal re-growth both in jejunum and ileum compared to SBS-NC rats. A significant up-regulation of ERK protein coincided with increased cell proliferation in SBS-HFD rats (vs. SBS-NC). Also, the initial decreased levels of apoptosis corresponded with the early decrease in bax and increase in bcl-2 at both mRNA and protein levels.


Early exposure to HPA both augments and accelerates structural bowel adaptation in a rat model of SBS. Increased cell proliferation and decreased cell apoptosis may be responsible for this effect. Deprivation of PA in the diet inhibits intestinal re-growth.

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