Glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) increases net amino acid utilization by the portal-drained viscera of ruminating calves

Animal. 2012 Dec;6(12):1985-97. doi: 10.1017/S175173111200095X. Epub 2012 May 9.


Glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) increases small intestinal mass and blood flow in ruminant calves, but its impact on nutrient metabolism across the portal-drained viscera (PDV) and liver is unknown. Eight Holstein calves with catheters in the carotid artery, mesenteric vein, portal vein and hepatic vein were paired by age and randomly assigned to control (0.5% bovine serum albumin in saline; n = 4) or GLP-2 (100 μg/kg BW per day bovine GLP-2 in bovine serum albumin; n = 4). Treatments were administered subcutaneously every 12 h for 10 days. Blood flow was measured on days 0 and 10 and included 3 periods: baseline (saline infusion), treatment (infusion of bovine serum albumin or 3.76 μg/kg BW per h GLP-2) and recovery (saline infusion). Arterial concentrations and net PDV, hepatic and total splanchnic fluxes of glucose, lactate, glutamate, glutamine, β-hydroxybutyrate and urea-N were measured on days 0 and 10. Arterial concentrations and net fluxes of all amino acids and glucose metabolism using continuous intravenous infusion of [U13-C]glucose were measured on day 10 only. A 1-h infusion of GLP-2 increased blood flow in the portal and hepatic veins when administered to calves not previously exposed to exogenous GLP-2, but after a 10-day administration of GLP-2 the blood flow response to the 1-h GLP-2 infusion was substantially attenuated. The 1-h GLP-2 infusion also did not appreciably alter nutrient fluxes on either day 0 or 10. In contrast, long-term GLP-2 administration reduced arterial concentrations and net PDV flux of many essential and non-essential amino acids. Despite the significant alterations in amino acid metabolism, glucose irreversible loss and utilization by PDV and non-PDV tissues were not affected by GLP-2. Fluxes of amino acids across the PDV were generally reduced by GLP-2, potentially by increased small intestinal epithelial growth and thus energy and amino acid requirements of this tissue. Increased PDV extraction of glutamine and alterations in PDV metabolism of arginine, ornithine and citrulline support the concept that GLP-2 influences intestine-specific amino acid metabolism. Alterations in amino acid metabolism but unchanged glucose metabolism suggests that the growth effects induced by GLP-2 in ruminants increase reliance on amino acids preferentially over glucose. Thus, GLP-2 increases PDV utilization of amino acids, but not glucose, concurrent with stimulated growth of the small intestinal epithelium in post-absorptive ruminant calves.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cattle / growth & development
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / growth & development
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2 / administration & dosage
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2 / metabolism*
  • Hepatic Veins / physiology
  • Infusions, Intravenous / veterinary
  • Liver / blood supply
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Portal Vein / physiology
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Time Factors
  • Viscera / blood supply
  • Viscera / metabolism*


  • Amino Acids
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2