Regulatory role of l-proline in fetal pig growth and intestinal epithelial cell proliferation.
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l-proline (Pro) is a precursor of ornithine, which is converted into polyamines via ornithine decarboxylase (ODC). Polyamines plays a key role in the proliferation of intestinal epithelial cells. The study investigated the effect of Pro on polyamine metabolism and cell proliferation on porcine enterocytes in vivo and in vitro. Twenty-four Huanjiang mini-pigs were randomly assigned into 1 of 3 groups and fed a basal diet that contained 0.77% alanine (Ala, iso-nitrogenous control), 1% Pro or 1% Pro + 0.0167% α-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) from d 15 to 70 of gestation. The fetal body weight and number of fetuses per litter were determined, and the small and large intestines were obtained on d 70 ± 1.78 of gestation. The in vitro study was performed in intestinal porcine epithelial (IPEC-J2) cells cultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagle medium-high glucose (DMEM-H) containing 0 μmol/L Pro, 400 μmol/L Pro, or 400 μmol/L Pro + 10 mmol/L DFMO for 4 d. The results showed that maternal dietary supplementation with 1% Pro increased fetal weight; the protein and DNA concentrations of the fetal small intestine; and mRNA levels for potassium voltage-gated channel, shaker-related subfamily, member 1 (Kv1.1) in the fetal small and large intestines (P < 0.05). Supplementing Pro to either gilts or IPEC-J2 cells increased ODC protein abundances and polyamine concentrations in the fetal intestines and IPEC-J2 cells (P < 0.05). In comparison with the Pro group, the combined administration of Pro and DFMO reduced the expression of ODC protein and spermine concentration in the fetal intestine, as well as the concentrations of putrescine, spermidine and spermine in IPEC-J2 cells (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, the percentage of cells in the S-phase and the mRNA levels of proto-oncogenes c-fos and c-myc were increased in response to Pro supplementation, whereas depletion of cellular polyamines with DFMO increased tumor protein p53 (p53) mRNA levels (P < 0.05). Taken together, dietary supplementation with Pro improved fetal pig growth and intestinal epithelial cell proliferation via enhancing polyamine synthesis.