Effect of oral insulin on lactase activity, mRNA, and posttranscriptional processing in the newborn pig

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1992 Feb;14(2):166-72. doi: 10.1097/00005176-199202000-00008.


Insulin, found in human and pig colostrum and mature milk, appears to influence small intestinal growth and development. Ileal lactase activity is increased when porcine insulin is added to feedings administered to newborn piglets. We studied 2-day-old miniature piglets to determine whether the increase in lactase activity is accompanied by changes in enterocyte expression of lactase activity, steady-state levels of lactase mRNA, and/or posttranscriptional changes in lactase processing. We randomized the piglets to receive bottle feedings of a swine-weaning milk formula with (group F + I) or without (group F) the addition of 85 mU/ml of regular porcine insulin. The piglets were fed for 6 days (to 8 days of age), after which they were killed and the small intestine removed for analysis. Despite large differences between groups in enterocyte expression of lactase activity in the ileum, no differences were noted in the level of ileal lactase mRNA. The relative proportions of the 207, 210, and 230 kDa precursors of the 160 kDa mature lactase protein were similar between groups. These data indicate that the insulin-induced increased expression of ileal lactase activity is not regulated at the level of its mRNA or at the level of processing of the polypeptide.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Erythrocytes / enzymology
  • Ileum / drug effects*
  • Ileum / metabolism*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Lactase
  • Protein Biosynthesis / drug effects
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional / drug effects*
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects*
  • Swine
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Weight Gain / drug effects
  • beta-Galactosidase / biosynthesis*


  • Insulin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Lactase
  • beta-Galactosidase