Parenteral and enteral feeding in preterm piglets differently affects extracellular matrix proteins, enterocyte proliferation and apoptosis in the small intestine

Total parental feeding in preterm newborn piglets may have a negative impact on mucosal gut integrity.
Thursday 17 February 2011 (7 years 7 months 8 days ago)
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The preterm intestine is immature and responds differently to total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and enteral nutrition, compared with the term intestine. We hypothesised that in preterms, diet composition and feeding route affect mucosal morphology, enterocyte mitosis and apoptosis, and the distribution of laminin-1, fibronectin and collagen IV (extracellular matrix proteins (ECMP)). A total of twenty nine crossbred (Large White x Danish Landrace) piglets from six sows were delivered by caesarean section at 107– 108 d (93–94%) of gestation. Animals were allocated to one of the four experimental groups according to birth weight: the piglets were either euthanized immediately after delivery, after 3 d of TPN or after 2 d enteral feeding with colostrum or milk formula, following 3 d of TPN. We combined immunohistochemistry, image analysis and stereological measurements to describe the intestinal mucosal layer.

No significant changes occurred after 3 d of TPN. Feeding colostrum or milk replacer for 2 d after TPN was associated with an increased crypt depth. Only enteral feeding with colostrum resulted in an increased villus height and mitotic index. Neither TPN nor enteral feeding changed the distribution pattern of ECMP or the occurrence of bifid crypts. The immature distribution pattern of ECMP in TPN-fed piglets, coupled with unchanged enterocyte mitosis and apoptosis indices, showed that feeding preterm pigs 3 d TPN does not lead to mucosal atrophy. Despite the invariable distribution of ECMP, colostrum was associated with crypt hyperplasia resulting in an increased villus height.

These data illustrate that some mechanisms regulating cell turnover are immature in preterms and may in part explain the abnormal gut responses to total parenteral nutrition and enteral feeding in prematurely born pigs.

M Oste, M De Vos, E Van Haver, L Van Brantegem, T Thymann, P Sangild, A Weyns and C Van Ginneken, 2010. British Journal of Nutrition, 104, 989–997.

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