Prevention of parenteral nutrition-induced gut hypoplasia by coinfusion of glucagon-like peptide-2

Maintaining rats on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) for 6 days significantly reduced mass (-34%), protein (-32%), and DNA (-35%) in small intestine and colon (29-37% decrease). Coinfusion of glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) normalized each of these variables in duodenum, jejunum, and ileum, but not in colon. Histological analysis of tissue revealed normal mucosa thickness and villus height in small intestine of GLP-2-treated rats, whereas nontreated rats maintained on TPN exhibited villus shortening (-30%) and thinning (-23%) of mucosa. These results suggest that hormonal alterations may be more important than an absence of luminal nutrition in TPN-associated mucosal changes. Additionally, GLP-2 normalization of gut mucosa permits accurate assessment of the influence of reversal of hypoplasia on gut barrier function.