Purpose: This study was designed to evaluate the potential growth factor effects of systemic administration of leptin on mucosal mass and absorptive function in normal rat intestine.
Methods: Twenty male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent placement of a jugular venous catheter connected to a subcutaneous osmotic pump designed to deliver its contents at a constant rate. The rats were divided into 4 groups (n = 5 per group) based on the contents of the osmotic pump: group 1, 0.1% bovine serum albumin; group 2, leptin, 6.25 microgram/kg/d; Group 3, leptin, 18.75 microgram/kg/d; Group 4, leptin, 43.75 microgram/kg/d. After a 14-day infusion, [(14)C] galactose and [(14)C] glycine absorption were determined using a closed, recirculation technique. DNA content was determined from mucosal biopsies. Total RNA was extracted from mucosal samples, reverse transcribed, and amplified via polymerase chain reaction for the following primer pairs: sodium/glucose cotransporter (SGLT-1), fructose transporter (GLUT-5), and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH, internal standard). Statistical analysis was performed by analysis of variance and expressed as mean plus minus SEM.
Results: Systemic administration of increasing doses of leptin enhanced DNA content when compared with the appropriate control (group 2, 1.06 plus minus 0.04 [P <.05]; group 3, 1.1 plus minus 0.05 [P <.01]; and group 4, 1.07 plus minus 0.06 [P <.05]. Leptin enhanced mucosal absorptive function (galactose: group 2, 2.31 plus minus 0.15 [P <.01]; group 3, 2.71 plus minus 0.06 [P <.01]; group 4, 2.19 plus minus 0.28 [P <.05]; glycine: group 2, 2.34 plus minus 0.31 [P <.05]; group 3, 3.32 plus minus 0.14 [P <.01]; group 4, 3.1 plus minus 0.27 [P <.01]) in the normal intestine when compared with the appropriate control animals. Also, leptin enhanced the gene expression of the carbohydrate transporters when compared with the appropriate control rats.
Conclusions: These data show that systemic leptin administration enhances mucosal mass and absorptive function in normal rat intestine. Thus, leptin appears to be a growth factor for normal small intestine and may play a role in patients who acquire intestinal dysfunction.
Copyright 2002 by W.B. Saunders Company.