The miniature pig as an animal model for the study of intestinal enzyme development

Pediatr Res. 1988 Mar;23(3):311-5. doi: 10.1203/00006450-198803000-00016.


Studies of intestinal enzyme development and regulation relevant to the human infant require an animal model with a rate of maturation similar to that of the human infant. Hanford miniature pigs were weaned at 3 days of age to a standard swine weaning formula. At 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 wk of age, duodenal jejunal, and ileal segments were analyzed for protein content and lactase, sucrase, maltase, glucoamylase, and acid beta-galactosidase activities. Protein content of the small intestine changed significantly with age only in the ileum (p less than 0.05). Lactase activity fell significantly with age in all segments of the small intestine (p less than 0.001); activity was highest in the jejunum. Sucrase and maltase activities were present in all segments of the small intestine at 1 wk of age. Sucrase increased significantly (2-fold, p less than 0.02) with age only in the ileum and maltase increased significantly with age in the jejunum (by 50%, p less than 0.05) and the ileum (3-fold, p less than 0.001). Activities were highest in the jejunum. Glucoamylase activity was present at 1 wk of age and showed a small but significant increase with age only in the duodenum (p less than 0.005). Acid beta-galactosidase activity demonstrated small but significant decreases with age in all small intestinal segments. Glucoamylase and acid beta-galactosidase activities were similar in all segments. In the 6-wk-old pigs, activities of all the enzymes tested were similar to those found in young human infants.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Duodenum / enzymology
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Ileum / metabolism
  • Intestine, Small / enzymology*
  • Jejunum / metabolism
  • Sucrase / metabolism
  • Swine
  • Swine, Miniature / metabolism*
  • alpha-Glucosidases / metabolism
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • alpha-Glucosidases
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Sucrase