BACKGROUND Glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) is a growth factor for the intestinal epithelium in rodents and may affect intestinal transit.
AIMS To study the GLP-2 response to nutrient ingestion in seven short bowel patients with intestinal failure and seven controls.
METHODS The patients and controls were admitted twice for two test meals after a night of fasting. Meal A was liquid (300 ml, 1.88 MJ); meal B was a regular breakfast (755 g, 3.92 MJ). Plasma samples were collected for 180 minutes; GLP-2 immunoreactivity was measured with an NH2 terminal specific radioimmunoassay.
RESULTS Both meals elicited significant increases in plasma GLP-2 in controls. The magnitude and duration of the responses were dependent on the meal size: the maximum median (25–75%) increases after meal A and B were 24 (3–28) and 48 (33–56) pmol/l. Plasma GLP-2 returned to basal concentrations 180 minutes after meal A, but remained at 50% of peak values after meal B. In the patients neither meal significantly changed the GLP-2 concentration; the maximum median elevation after meal B was 5 (2–8) pmol/l. There were significant differences between patients and controls with respect to the GLP-2 responses to meals A and B.
CONCLUSION Identification of GLP-2 as a tissue specific intestinal growth factor and demonstration of an impaired meal stimulated GLP-2 response in short bowel patients raises the possibility that GLP-2 administration may constitute a new therapeutic strategy, enhancing jejunal adaptation in ileum resected short bowel patients with intestinal failure.
- short bowel syndrome
- growth factors
- intestinal adaptation
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- Abbreviations used in this paper:
- basal energy expenditure
- glucagon-like peptide 2
- proglucagon derived peptides
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