Secretion of glucagon-like peptide-2 responds to nutrient intake but not glucose provision in milk-fed calves
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Glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) is a peptide released by the lower gut that has potent trophic and restorative effects on the intestinal epithelium. Two experiments were conducted to assess the effects of feeding rate and either metabolizable or nonmetabolizable glucose supplementation on GLP-2 concentrations in plasma and intestinal development in Holstein calves. In the first experiment, 48 newborn calves were assigned to 12 treatments (n = 4) corresponding to the factorial combination of 4 milk feeding amounts [1.75, 1.32, 0.88, and 0.44% of body weight (BW) as dry matter (DM)] and 3 oral supplementation treatments (nonsupplemented, glucose-supplemented, and 3-O-methyl glucose-supplemented). In the second experiment 30 newborn calves (n = 10) were fed milk at a fixed rate of 1.75% of BW as DM and assigned to the same glucose supplementation treatments used in experiment 1 to investigate effects on intestinal development. In the first experiment, we found a saturating response of plasma GLP-2 to increasing feeding levels. The feeding rate at which 50% of the maximal GLP-2 release occurred was estimated to be 0.53% of BW as DM or 30.3% of the maximum feeding rate (1.75% of BW as DM), whereas maximal secretion was estimated to be about 98.6 pmol/L. In turn, feeding 75, 50, or 25% of the maximal feeding rate (i.e., 1.75% BW as DM) resulted in plasma GLP-2 concentrations 87, 72, and 49% of that in fully fed calves, respectively. Neither metabolizable nor nonmetabolizable glucose supplementation affected GLP-2 secretion and no interaction with feed intake level was detected. In the second experiment, no effect of glucose supplementation was observed on intestinal growth, mucosal cell proliferation, or expression of genes related to the actions of GLP-2. Nonetheless, we observed that a pool of genes of the GLP-2 signaling pathway was more abundantly and coordinately regulated in the colon than in the ileum of these animals, indicating an opportunity for dietary induction of the peptide in this organ. In conclusion, during this experiment, plasma GLP-2 concentrations responded in a diminishing return fashion to milk intake but not to glucose supplementation, even at milk consumption levels of only 0.4% of BW as DM.