Glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) increases small intestinal blood flow and mucosal growth in ruminating calves

C. C. Taylor-Edwards, D. G. Burrin, J. J. Holst, K. R. McLeod, D. L. Harmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) increases small intestinal mass and blood flow in nonruminants but its effect in ruminants is unknown. Eight Holstein calves with an ultrasonic flow probe around the superior mesenteric artery and catheters in the carotid artery and mesenteric vein were paired by age and randomly assigned to treatment of a control (0.5% of BSA in saline; n = 4) or GLP-2 (50 μg/kg of body weight of bovine GLP-2 in BSA; n = 4) given subcutaneously every 12. h for 10 d. Blood flow was measured on d 0 (acute) and d 10 (chronic) and included 3 periods: baseline (saline infusion), treatment (infusion of BSA or 1,000 pmol of GLP-2/kg of body weight per h), and recovery (saline infusion). On d 11, calves were killed 2. h after injection of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU). Gastrointestinal tissues were weighed and epithelial samples were obtained to determine villus height, crypt depth, and BrdU staining. Infusion of GLP-2 increased superior mesenteric artery blood flow to 175% of baseline on d 0 but to only 137% of baseline after chronic treatment. Compared with that of the control, GLP-2 increased small intestinal mass by 24% by increasing epithelial mass in the jejunum and ileum. Additionally, GLP-2 increased villus height, crypt depth, and BrdU-labeling in small intestinal segments. These results demonstrate that GLP-2 induces similar increases in small intestinal blood flow and growth in ruminants to those observed in nonruminants. Furthermore, GLP-2 increases small intestinal blood flow in ruminants but this response is attenuated after 10 d of GLP-2 administration. In cattle, GLP-2 may be an important hormone in the regulation of intestinal blood flow and epithelial growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-898
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors express gratitude to Julie Cannon, Melissa Hudson, Samer El-Kadi, Alma True, Jimmy Klotz, Anne Koontz, and Anne Ballou (University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY) for assistance with tissue collection, to Winston Lin (University of Kentucky) for plasma analysis assistance, and to Xioayan Chang and Leiwei Cui (USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX) for assistance with immunohistochemistry and morphology measurements. Partial support for this research was provided by the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is Publication No. 10-07-065. This work was also supported by federal funds from the USDA , Agricultural Research Service under Cooperative Agreement Number 58-6250-6-001 between USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital and by Texas Medical Center Digestive Diseases Center (NIH Grant P30 DK-56338). This manuscript was written by C. C. Taylor-Edwards in her private capacity. No official support or endorsement by the FDA is intended or should be inferred.


  • Blood flow
  • Calf
  • Glucagon-like peptide-2
  • Small intestine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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