Oral insulin enhances intestinal regrowth following massive small bowel resection in rat

Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Dec;50(12):2379-85. doi: 10.1007/s10620-005-3067-x.


Experimental studies have suggested that insulin (INS) plays an important role in small intestinal growth and development. In the present study we investigated the effect of oral INS on structural intestinal adaptation and enterocyte proliferation and loss via apoptosis in a rat model of short bowel syndrome (SBS). Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three experimental groups: sham rats underwent bowel transection, SBS rats underwent 75% small bowel resection, and SBS-INS rats underwent bowel resection and were treated with oral INS given in the drinking water from the 3rd to the 15th postoperative day. Parameters of intestinal adaptation (bowel and mucosal weight, mucosal DNA and protein, villous height, and crypt depth), enterocyte proliferation, and apoptosis were determined on day 15. SBS-INS rats demonstrated a significant increase (vs SBS rats) in jejunal and ileal overall bowel and mucosal weight, ileal mucosal DNA and protein, ileal villous height, and crypt depth. SBS-INS rats also showed an increased cell proliferation index in jejunum and ileum and decreased apoptotic index in jejunum compared to SBS animals. In conclusion, in a rat model of SBS, oral INS strongly enhances intestinal adaptation. Possible mechanisms may include increased cell proliferation and decreased enterocyte loss via apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Body Weight
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Ileum / growth & development*
  • Ileum / pathology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Probability
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reference Values
  • Regeneration / drug effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / pathology*


  • Insulin