Adaptive response of ileal mucosa to malnutrition in the rat: Role of polyamines

A. Jonas*, A. Diver-Haber, J. Yahav

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mucosal disaccharidases and ornithine decarboxylase activities were measured in malnourished, preweaning (19 days), post weaning (24 days) and young adult (37 days) rats. Malnutrition resulted in decreased body weight, intestinal weight, DNA and protein content. Mucosal Prot/DNA ratios were elevated in the ileal segments of the 24 and 37 day rats. Preweaned malnourished rats had significantly enhanced lactase specific activity in both jejunal and ileal segments. Adult malnourished rats showed enhanced jejunal lactase and sucrase activities which were not accompanied by elevated ornithine decarboxylase values. Mucosal sucrase and ornithine decarboxylase specific activities were significantly elevated in the ileal segment of the 24 and 37 day old malnourished rats. Studies of adult rats showed that these increased specific activities were located in the mature enterocytes at the villus tip, and persisted during a 24 h diurnal cycle. DFMO administration for 4 days completely inhibited mucosal ornithine decarboxylase and abolished the rise of ileal sucrase activity. We concluded that the intestinal response to reduced food intake is age related and differs in the jejunum and ileum: ornithine decarboxylase and polyamines are involved in ileal adaptation to malnutrition in postweaned and adult rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-395
Number of pages9
JournalActa Physiologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Disaccharidases
  • Malnutrition
  • ODC (ornithine decarboxylase)
  • Polyamines


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