Glucagon-like peptide 2: a new treatment for chemotherapy-induced enteritis

J Surg Res. 2000 Jun 1;91(1):77-82. doi: 10.1006/jsre.2000.5917.


Background: Glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) is a recently identified intestinal epithelium-specific growth factor that has been shown to reduce the severity of inflammatory disorders of the intestine in rodent models. We hypothesized that GLP-2 administration would be beneficial in chemotherapy-induced enteritis either by preventing injury or by promoting recovery.

Material and methods: Rats received no drug (control), chemotherapy alone [5-fluorouracil (5-FU), 190 mg/kg, ip] (Chemo), 5-FU followed by 3 days of GLP-2 analog (ALX-0600, 0.1 microg, sc twice daily) (CH-G), or GLP-2 analog for 6 days prior to 5-FU and for 3 days afterward (G-CH-G). Animals were pair fed. Rats received 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (Br-dU, 50 mg/kg, 2.5 h prior to sacrifice on Day 3 postchemotherapy) for immunohistochemical assessment of cellular proliferation.

Results: Chemotherapy induced significant reductions in body weight, villus height, and crypt depth compared with controls. Intestinal wet weight, villus height, and crypt depth were significantly higher for the CH-G group compared with the Chemo group. The CH-G group also showed a significant improvement in villus height compared with the G-CH-G group. Crypt depth, but not jejunal wet weight or villus height, was significantly improved in the G-CH-G group compared with the Chemo group. The percentage of Br-dU-labeled cells in the intestinal crypts did not differ among the groups.

Conclusions: These results suggest, for the first time, that GLP-2 treatment initiated after chemotherapy administration enhances intestinal recovery. In contrast, GLP-2 treatment initiated prior to chemotherapy administration to prevent injury has less beneficial effect. GLP-2 administration may be beneficial to patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced enteritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / adverse effects*
  • Body Weight
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / analysis
  • Enteritis / chemically induced*
  • Enteritis / drug therapy*
  • Fluorouracil / adverse effects*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides
  • Intestinal Mucosa / chemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Jejunum / chemistry
  • Jejunum / cytology
  • Jejunum / drug effects
  • Male
  • Morbidity
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2
  • Peptides
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Fluorouracil