Postprandial intestinal and whole body nitrogen kinetics and distribution in piglets fed a single meal

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Feb;288(2):E436-46. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00263.2004. Epub 2004 Oct 26.


Our aim was to characterize the postprandial total and dietary N fluxes in the portal drained viscera (PDV) and whole body after administration of a single meal in young pigs. Seven 4-wk-old piglets, implanted with a portal flow probe and portal, arterial and venous catheters, received a primed constant [(18)O]urea intravenous infusion and were studied for 8 h after a bolus mixed meal ingestion (46 mmol N/kg body wt) intrinsically labeled with (15)N to trace dietary N fluxes. The real cecal digestibility of the formula was 94.3% (SD 1.8). PDV output of dietary N was found principally in the pool of circulating protein (51% of the measured dietary N PDV output), in the free alpha-amino N pool (44%), and to a lesser extent in ammonia (5%). Dietary N release in alpha-amino N and ammonia mainly occurred during the first 3 h. Total and exogenous postprandial urea productions were 5.8 and 2.0 mmol N/kg body wt, respectively. At the end of the postprandial period, losses of dietary N amounted to 10.3% of the dose: 5.7% through ileal losses and 4.6% by deamination and transfer to urea. Net postprandial retention of dietary N was 90.4% (SD 1.3), of which 20% was found in splanchnic zone (small intestine 10%, liver 5%, and plasma protein 3%) and 42% in peripheral zone (muscle 31%, skin 6%). In conclusion, our results show a high efficiency of dietary N utilization for muscular uptake and anabolic utilization. However, the results obtained point out the necessity to further explore the form of dietary N released into the portal blood.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Nitrogen / administration & dosage*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Organ Specificity
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • Swine
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Nitrogen