Glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) increases small intestinal mass and blood flow in nonruminants but its effect in ruminants is unknown. Eight Holstein calves with an ultrasonic flow probe around the superior mesenteric artery and catheters in the carotid artery and mesenteric vein were paired by age and randomly assigned to treatment of a control (0.5% of BSA in saline; n=4) or GLP-2 (50 μg/kg of body weight of bovine GLP-2 in BSA; n=4) given subcutaneously every 12h for 10 d. Blood flow was measured on d 0 (acute) and d 10 (chronic) and included 3 periods: baseline (saline infusion), treatment (infusion of BSA or 1,000 pmol of GLP-2/kg of body weight per h), and recovery (saline infusion). On d 11, calves were killed 2h after injection of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU). Gastrointestinal tissues were weighed and epithelial samples were obtained to determine villus height, crypt depth, and BrdU staining. Infusion of GLP-2 increased superior mesenteric artery blood flow to 175% of baseline on d 0 but to only 137% of baseline after chronic treatment. Compared with that of the control, GLP-2 increased small intestinal mass by 24% by increasing epithelial mass in the jejunum and ileum. Additionally, GLP-2 increased villus height, crypt depth, and BrdU-labeling in small intestinal segments. These results demonstrate that GLP-2 induces similar increases in small intestinal blood flow and growth in ruminants to those observed in nonruminants. Furthermore, GLP-2 increases small intestinal blood flow in ruminants but this response is attenuated after 10 d of GLP-2 administration. In cattle, GLP-2 may be an important hormone in the regulation of intestinal blood flow and epithelial growth.
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