Viscera and muscle protein synthesis in neonatal pigs is increased more by intermittent bolus than by continuous feeding

Pediatr Res. 2013 Aug;74(2):154-62. doi: 10.1038/pr.2013.89. Epub 2013 Jun 4.


Background: Continuous and intermittent bolus orogastric feedings are strategies used in infants unable to tolerate normal feeds.

Methods: To determine the effects of feeding modality on protein synthesis in different tissues, neonatal pigs received a balanced formula by orogastric tube as an intermittent bolus feed every 4 h or as a continuous infusion, or were fasted overnight.

Results: As compared with fasting, protein synthesis in gastrocnemius, masseter, and soleus muscles; left ventricle; liver; pancreas; jejunum; and kidney increased in bolus- and continuously fed pigs, but the greatest increase occurred after a bolus meal. Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC2), the proline-rich AKT substrate of 40 kDa (PRAS40), eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4E binding protein (4EBP1), and ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1) phosphorylation in all tissues, and the proportion of ribosomal protein S4 in liver polysomes were enhanced 90 min following the bolus meal but not immediately before the meal or during continuous feeding. Eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2) and eIF2α phosphorylation were unaffected by feeding.

Conclusion: These results suggest that intermittent bolus feeding increases protein synthesis in muscles of different fiber types and visceral tissues to a greater extent than continuous feeding by stimulating translation initiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Feeding Methods*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Protein Biosynthesis / physiology*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Swine
  • Time Factors
  • Viscera / physiology*