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Arch Physiol Biochem. 1998 Feb;106(1):46-55.

Comparison between the natural postnatal maturation and the spermine-induced maturation of the rat intestine.

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Department of Biochemistry and General Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Chemistry, Sart Tilman, Li├Ęge, Belgium.


In the suckling rats, orally provided spermine induced structural and biochemical changes in the intestine, which are characteristics of the postnatal maturation. This induced maturation was compared to that occurring spontaneously. Eight mumol spermine were administered orally once a day, for one or three days, to suckling rats which were 11 days old at the beginning of the experiment. The animals were killed 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 hours or 3 days after the first treatment. Control rats from the same litter were treated in the same way but received only the vehicle. In order to complete the study of the naturally occurring maturation, another group of rats was killed when they were 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 or 30 days old. Animal and intestine weights were measured. Disaccharidase specific activity, and protein, DNA and RNA contents were estimated in the small intestine. Histological and ultrastructural aspects of the intestinal mucosa were examined. For all these parameters, the maturation induced by spermine ingestion appeared close to that occurring naturally at weaning. Consequently, dietary spermine induces all the morphological and biochemical modifications characterizing the intestinal postnatal maturation in the suckling rat suggesting a role of the polyamines in the naturally occurring processes.

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