Enhanced intestinal synthesis of polyamines from proline in cortisol-treated piglets. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study was conducted to determine a role for cortisol in regulating intestinal ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity and to identify the metabolic sources of ornithine for intestinal polyamine synthesis in suckling pigs. Thirty-two 21-day-old suckling pigs were randomly assigned to one of four groups with eight animals each and received daily intramuscular injections of vehicle solution (sesame oil; control), hydrocortisone 21-acetate (HYD; 25 mg/kg body wt), RU-486 (10 mg/kg body wt, a potent blocker of glucocorticoid receptors), or HYD plus RU-486 for two consecutive days. At 29 days of age, pigs were killed for preparation of jejunal enterocytes. The cytosolic fraction was prepared for determining ODC activity. For metabolic studies, enterocytes were incubated for 45 min at 37 degrees C in 2 ml of Krebs-bicarbonate buffer (pH 7.4) containing 1 mM [U-(14)C]arginine, 1 mM [U-(14)C]ornithine, 1 mM [U-(14)C]glutamine, or 1 mM [U-(14)C]proline plus 1 mM glutamine. Cortisol administration increased intestinal ODC activity by 230%, polyamine (putrescine, spermidine, and spermine) synthesis from ornithine and proline by 75-180%, and intracellular polyamine concentrations by 45-83%. Polyamine synthesis from arginine was not detected in enterocytes of control pigs but was induced in cells of cortisol-treated pigs. There was no detectable synthesis of polyamines from glutamine in enterocytes of all groups of pigs. The stimulating effects of cortisol on intestinal ODC activity and polyamine synthesis were abolished by coadministration of RU-486. Our data indicate that an increase in plasma cortisol concentrations stimulates intestinal polyamine synthesis via a glucocorticoid receptor-mediated mechanism and that proline (an abundant amino acid in milk) is a major source of ornithine for intestinal polyamine synthesis in suckling neonates.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, G., Flynn, N. E., & Knabe, D. A.

citation count

  • 86

complete list of authors

  • Wu, G||Flynn, NE||Knabe, DA

publication date

  • August 2000