Background: Glucose is a major oxidative substrate for intestinal energy generation in neonatal animals; however, few data in preterm infants are available. Early administration of enteral nutrition, including glucose, may be an effective strategy to support intestinal adaptation to extrauterine life in preterm neonates.
Objective: The purpose of the present study was to quantify the first-pass uptake and oxidation of glucose by the splanchnic tissues (intestine and liver) in human neonates.
Design: Eight preterm infants [birth weight ( +/- SD): 1.19 +/- 0.22 kg, gestational age: 29 +/- 1 wk] were studied while they received 2 different enteral intakes (A: 40% enteral, 60% parenteral, total glucose intake = 7.5 +/- 0.5 mg. kg(-1). min(-1), and B: 100% enteral, total glucose intake = 7.8 +/- 0.4 mg. kg(-1). min(-1)). Splanchnic and whole-body glucose kinetics were measured by use of dual-tracer techniques.
Results: During both feeding periods, approximately one-third of dietary glucose intake was utilized during the first pass by the splanchnic tissues. More than three-quarters of this utilized glucose was oxidized in both periods (79 +/- 36% with A and 84 +/- 45% with B). Whole-body glucose oxidation was substantial under both circumstances: 72 +/- 5% and 77% +/- 6% of the glucose flux was oxidized during partial (A) and full (B) enteral feeding, respectively.
Conclusions: Approximately one-third of dietary glucose is utilized during the first pass by the splanchnic tissues, irrespective of the dietary intake. Most of the utilized glucose is used for energy generation.