Background: Ingested peanut agglutinin stimulates colonic proliferation in humans. In rats, ingested peanut agglutinin stimulates hormone release and proliferation in the small and large intestines. Peanut agglutinin is absorbed into the circulation but little is known about the systemic effect of this lectin. Therefore, we studied the effect of intravenous peanut agglutinin on hormone release and intestinal growth. Method: Six rats per group received peanut agglutinin infusion at 0, 2, 20 or 200 μg/rat/day for 6 days via the right jugular vein. Organ weights were measured, pancreatic enzymes, DNA, RNA and protein levels were analysed. Plasma hormones were measured by radioimmunoassay. All tissues were examined histologically. Small intestinal and colonic proliferation rates were estimated by metaphase arrest. Results: High-dose peanut agglutinin significantly reduced the wet weight of the stomach by 7% (P < 0.05) and large intestine by 10% (P < 0.05). Peanut agglutinin dose-dependently released enteroglucagon; low-, medium- and high-dose by 64%, 126% (P < 0.01) and 180% (P < 0.01), respectively, and glucagon-like peptide-1 by 127% (P < 0.01), 169% (P < 0.01) and 315%, (P < 0.001), respectively. Peanut agglutinin had no effect on cholesystokinin, gastrin or insulin levels. Peanut agglutinin, low-, medium- and high-dose stimulated proliferation in the mid colon by 42% (P < 0.01), 30% and 38%, respectively. Only high-dose peanut agglutinin stimulated proliferation in the distal colon by 54% (P < 0.01). No histological changes were evident in any tissue. Conclusion: Intravenous peanut agglutinin released hormones and stimulated colonic proliferation. Proliferation of the small intestine seen after ingestion of peanut agglutinin in previous studies appears to require luminal contact between enterocytes and the lectin. Possible clinical applications include reversal of atrophy during total parenteral nutrition, anastomotic healing after surgery and restoration of mucosa integrity in colitis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)