GLP-2 rapidly activates divergent intracellular signaling pathways involved in intestinal cell survival and proliferation in neonatal piglets

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan;292(1):E281-91. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00129.2006. Epub 2006 Sep 5.


We previously demonstrated the dose-dependent glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-2 activation of intracellular signals associated with increased epithelial cell survival and proliferation in the neonatal intestine. Our current aim was to quantify the acute, temporal GLP-2 activation of these key intracellular signals and relate this to changes in epithelial cell survival and proliferation in the neonatal intestine. We studied 29 total parenteral nutrition-fed neonatal piglets infused intravenously with either saline (control) or human GLP-2 (420 for 1, 4, or 48 h. GLP-2 infusion increased small intestinal weight, DNA and protein content, and villus height at 48 h, but not at 1 or 4 h. Intestinal crypt and villus apoptosis decreased and crypt cell proliferation and protein synthesis increased linearly with duration of GLP-2 infusion, but were statistically different from controls only after 48 h. Before the morphological and cellular kinetic changes, GLP-2 rapidly activated putative GLP-2 receptor downstream signals within 1-4 h, including phosphorylation of protein kinase A, protein kinase B, extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2, and the transcription factors cAMP response element-binding protein and c-Fos. GLP-2 rapidly suppressed caspase-3 activation and upregulated Bcl-2 abundance within 1 h, whereas there was an increase in apoptosis inhibitors X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis at 1 h and cellular inhibitor of apoptosis-2 at 4 and 48 h. We also show that the increased c-Fos and reduced active caspase-3 immunostaining after GLP-2 infusion was localized in epithelial cells. We conclude that GLP-2-induced activation of intracellular signals involved in both cell survival and proliferation occurs rapidly and precedes the trophic cellular kinetic effects that occur later in intestinal epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2 / administration & dosage
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2 / pharmacology*
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / metabolism
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / drug effects*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3 / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Swine
  • Time Factors


  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3