Differential effects of lipid and carbohydrate on enterocyte lactase activity in newborn piglets

Exp Physiol. 1994 Mar;79(2):189-201. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.1994.sp003752.


The influence of enteral feeding in the neonate on lactase-phlorizin hydrolase activity in the small intestine has been determined in newborn piglets fed a series of modified colostra, with a controlled metabolizable energy intake, during the first 31.5 h of life. Striking differences were observed between lactase specific activity in mucosal homogenates and enterocyte lactase activity along the villus axis; compared with newborns, the former decreased after feeding colostrum, whereas the latter increased significantly. When lipid was present in adequate amount, the increase in enterocyte lactase activity occurred when carbohydrate was present as either lactose or galactose. However, when the lipid content of the diet was low, there was a specific effect of carbohydrate composition which was dependent on position along the villus axis: in the lower villus, colostra high in lactose or glucose stimulated an increase in lactase, but there was no such effect with a high galactose intake. It is concluded that colostrum increases enterocyte lactase activity during the first day of life, and that this is dependent on both the nutrient composition of the diet and the position of the enterocytes along the villus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Colostrum / physiology
  • Energy Intake
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Insulin / blood
  • Intestinal Mucosa / enzymology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Lactase
  • Lactase-Phlorizin Hydrolase / metabolism
  • Lipids / pharmacology*
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Swine / metabolism*
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism*


  • Carbohydrates
  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Lactase
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Lactase-Phlorizin Hydrolase