Expression of Na+/glucose co-transporter 1 (SGLT1) is enhanced by supplementation of the diet of weaning piglets with artificial sweeteners

Br J Nutr. 2010 Sep;104(5):637-46. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510000917. Epub 2010 Mar 26.


In an intensive livestock production, a shorter suckling period allows more piglets to be born. However, this practice leads to a number of disorders including nutrient malabsorption, resulting in diarrhoea, malnutrition and dehydration. A number of strategies have been proposed to overcome weaning problems. Artificial sweeteners, routinely included in piglets' diet, were thought to enhance feed palatability. However, it is shown in rodent models that when included in the diet, they enhance the expression of Na+/glucose co-transporter (SGLT1) and the capacity of the gut to absorb glucose. Here, we show that supplementation of piglets' feed with a combination of artificial sweeteners saccharin and neohesperidin dihydrochalcone enhances the expression of SGLT1 and intestinal glucose transport function. Artificial sweeteners are known to act on the intestinal sweet taste receptor T1R2/T1R3 and its partner G-protein, gustducin, to activate pathways leading to SGLT1 up-regulation. Here, we demonstrate that T1R2, T1R3 and gustducin are expressed together in the enteroendocrine cells of piglet intestine. Furthermore, gut hormones secreted by the endocrine cells in response to dietary carbohydrates, glucagon-like peptides (GLP)-1, GLP-2 and glucose-dependent insulinotrophic peptide (GIP), are co-expressed with type 1 G-protein-coupled receptors (T1R) and gustducin, indicating that L- and K-enteroendocrine cells express these taste elements. In a fewer endocrine cells, T1R are also co-expressed with serotonin. Lactisole, an inhibitor of human T1R3, had no inhibitory effect on sweetener-induced SGLT1 up-regulation in piglet intestine. A better understanding of the mechanism(s) involved in sweetener up-regulation of SGLT1 will allow the identification of nutritional targets with implications for the prevention of weaning-related malabsorption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzene Derivatives / pharmacology
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Chalcones / pharmacology
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Enteroendocrine Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide / metabolism
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides / metabolism
  • Hesperidin / analogs & derivatives
  • Hesperidin / pharmacology
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Saccharin / pharmacology
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 1 / metabolism*
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology*
  • Swine / metabolism*
  • Transducin / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation
  • Weaning


  • Benzene Derivatives
  • Chalcones
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 1
  • Sweetening Agents
  • gustducin
  • Serotonin
  • neohesperidin dihydrochalcone
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides
  • Hesperidin
  • Transducin
  • Saccharin
  • lactisole