Total parenteral nutrition adversely affects gut barrier function in neonatal piglets

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2003 Dec;285(6):G1162-70. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00243.2003. Epub 2003 Sep 11.


Sepsis is the most common morbidity in preterm infants, who often receive total parenteral nutrition (TPN). We hypothesized that gut barrier function is compromised in TPN-fed compared with enterally fed newborn piglets (ENT pigs). Colostrum-deprived newborn pigs were implanted with jugular venous and bladder catheters under general anesthesia. Pigs were either administered TPN (n = 15) or fed formula (ENT pigs, n = 15). After 6 days, pigs were gavaged a solution of mannitol, lactulose, and polyethylene glycol 4000 (PEG 4000) and urine was collected for 24 h. At 7 days, small bowel samples were assayed for myeloperoxidase activity, morphometry, and tight junction protein abundance. Intestinal contents and peripheral organ sites were cultured for bacteria. Urinary recovery (%dose) of mannitol (53 vs. 68) was lower, whereas that of lactulose (2.93 vs. 0.18) and PEG 4000 (12.78 vs. 0.96) were higher in TPN vs. ENT pigs, respectively (P < 0.05). Incidence of translocation was similar in TPN and ENT pigs. Myeloperoxidase activity was increased in TPN vs. ENT pigs in the jejunum (P < 0.001) and was weakly correlated with lactulose (R2 = 0.32) and PEG 4000 (R2 = 0.38) recovery. Goblet cell counts did not change, but intraepithelial lymphocyte numbers decreased with TPN. Only claudin-1 protein abundance was increased in the TPN group. We conclude that TPN is associated with impairment of neonatal gut barrier function as measured by permeability but not translocation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / growth & development
  • Animals, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology
  • Bacterial Translocation
  • Cell Count
  • Claudin-1
  • Diuresis
  • Enteritis / enzymology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total / adverse effects*
  • Permeability
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Swine
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism


  • Claudin-1
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Peroxidase