Objectives: Polyamines are of great importance in biologic processes such as cell proliferation and differentiation. The ingestion of spermidine or spermine by suckling rats induces the precocious maturation of the small intestine. In a previous article, the authors hypothesized that this phenomenon could be mediated by interleukins. This work was performed to examine the role of IL-1, IL-2, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- α in the spermine-induced maturation of the small intestine.
Methods: Wistar suckling rats were treated with spermine, FR167653 (inhibitor of IL-1β/TNF-α production), IL-1β/TNF-α neutralizing antibodies, lipopolysaccharide, or IL-2. Intestinal disaccharidase-specific activities, polyamine content, and IL-2 plasma concentration were analyzed. Comparisons were made with untreated control animals.
Results: Spermine-induced maturation of the small intestine was decreased by FR167653 but not by the neutralizing antibodies. Lipopolysaccharide injection induced an increase in disaccharidase-specific activity. IL-2 induced a decrease of the intestinal lactase-specific activity. Spermine administration led to a similar decrease of lactase activity and to an increase of IL-2 plasma concentration.
Conclusions: The authors conclude that IL-1β and TNF-α are involved in the spermine effects on maltase- and sucrase-specific activities and suggest that IL-2 is involved in the spermine-induced decrease of lactase activity.