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Spermine-Induced Maturation in Wistar Rat Intestine: A Cytokine-Dependent Mechanism

Peulen, Olivier; Dandrifosse, Guy

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: May 2004 - Volume 38 - Issue 5 - p 524-532
Original Articles

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.

University of Liege, Department of Biochemistry and General Physiology; Institute of Chemistry, Liege, Belgium

Received July 17, 2003; accepted October 30, 2003.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Professor Guy Dandrifosse, Institute of Chemistry B6C, B-4000 Liege (Sart-Tilman), Belgium (e-mail:

Supported by the FRFC-IM (contract no. 455–338) and by the FRSM (contract no. 3–4531–96). The Fujisawa Co. donated the FR167653. The authors are supported by the French Community of Belgium.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.