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J Endocrinol. 1994 May;141(2):279-83.

Spermine-induced precocious intestinal maturation in suckling rats: possible involvement of glucocorticoids.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry and General Physiology, Institute of Chemistry, Li├Ęge, Belgium.


The mechanism(s) involved in the spermine-induced precocious postnatal maturation of the intestine in the unweaned rat was examined. Spermine given orally to 11-day-old rats stimulated ACTH and corticosterone secretion. Maximum serum levels of ACTH and corticosterone were observed between 4 and 6 h after spermine ingestion and were five- and sevenfold greater respectively than those of control rats receiving saline alone. Intraperitoneal injection of the polyamine had no effect on corticosterone production. Repeated intraperitoneal administration of gastrin, cholecystokinin, glucagon(1-37) and secretin to 11-day-old rats had no effect on the specific activity of intestinal disaccharidases. These data indicate that (1) the hypophysial-adrenal axis is implicated in the postnatal development of the gastrointestinal tract induced by spermine and (2) spermine affects ACTH and corticosterone secretion indirectly, probably by stimulating the release of gastrointestinal hormone(s).

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