Glucose transporters and enzymes related to glucose synthesis in small intestinal mucosa of mid-lactation dairy cows fed 2 levels of starch

J Dairy Sci. 2011 Sep;94(9):4546-55. doi: 10.3168/jds.2011-4333.


Diets containing corn starch may improve glucose supply by providing significant amounts of intestinal starch and increasing intestinal glucose absorption in dairy cows. Glucose absorption in the small intestine requires specific glucose transporters; that is, sodium-dependent glucose co-transporter-1 (SGLT1) and facilitated glucose transporter (GLUT2), which are usually downregulated in the small intestine of functional ruminants but are upregulated when luminal glucose is available. We tested the hypothesis that mRNA and protein expression of intestinal glucose transporters and mRNA expression of enzymes related to gluconeogenesis are affected by variable starch supply. Dairy cows (n=9/group) were fed for 4 wk total mixed rations (TMR) containing either high (HS) or low (LS) starch levels in the diet. Feed intake and milk yield were measured daily. After slaughter, tissue samples of the small intestinal mucosa (mid-duodenum and mid-jejunum) were taken for determination of mRNA concentrations of SGLT1 and GLUT2 as well as pyruvate carboxylase, cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, and glucose-6-phosphatase by real-time reverse transcription PCR relative to a housekeeping gene. Protein expression of GLUT2 in crude mucosal membranes and of SGLT1 and GLUT2 in brush-border membrane vesicles was quantified by sodium dodecyl sulfate-PAGE and immunoblot. A mixed model was used to examine feeding and time-related changes on feed intake and milk yield and to test feeding and gut site effects on gene or protein expression of glucose transporters and enzymes in the intestinal mucosa. Dry matter intake, but not energy intake, was higher in cows fed HS compared with LS. Abundance of SGLT1 mRNA tended to be higher in duodenal than in jejunal mucosa, and mRNA abundances of pyruvate carboxylase tended to be higher in jejunal than in duodenal mucosa. In brush-border membrane vesicles, SGLT1 and GLUT2 protein expression could be demonstrated. No diet-dependent differences were found concerning mRNA and protein contents of glucose transporter or mRNA level of gluconeogenic enzymes. In conclusion, our investigations on glucose transporters and gluconeogenic enzymes in the small intestinal mucosa of dairy cows did not show significant diet regulation when TMR with different amounts of intestinal starch were fed. Therefore, predicted intestinal glucose absorption after enhanced starch feeding is probably not supported by changes of intestinal glucose transporters in dairy cows.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Duodenum / chemistry
  • Duodenum / drug effects
  • Duodenum / enzymology
  • Duodenum / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose / biosynthesis*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 2 / analysis
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase / analysis
  • Intestinal Mucosa / chemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / enzymology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Jejunum / chemistry
  • Jejunum / drug effects
  • Jejunum / enzymology
  • Jejunum / metabolism
  • Lactation / drug effects
  • Lactation / metabolism*
  • Pyruvate Carboxylase / analysis
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Sodium-Glucose Transport Proteins / analysis*
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 1 / analysis
  • Starch / administration & dosage
  • Starch / pharmacology*


  • Glucose Transporter Type 2
  • Sodium-Glucose Transport Proteins
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 1
  • Starch
  • Glucose-6-Phosphatase
  • Pyruvate Carboxylase
  • Glucose