Impact of chronic protein-calorie malnutrition on small intestinal repair after acute viral enteritis: a study in gnotobiotic piglets

Butzner, J.D.; Butler, D.G.; Miniats, O.P.; Hamilton, J.R.

Pediatric Research 19(5): 476-481


ISSN/ISBN: 0031-3998
PMID: 3923424
DOI: 10.1203/00006450-198505000-00014
Accession: 040372606

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To investigate the effect of chronic protein-calorie malnutrition on intestinal repair after an enteric infection, we examined small intestinal structure, enzyme activity, and sodium transport in undernourished piglets during the acute and convalescent phases of a viral enteritis, transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE). Gnotobiotic pigs, nutritionally deprived from the age of 7 days, gained less weight than dietary controls from 14 days of age until the end of the study. Animals from malnourished and control diet groups were inoculated with TGE virus at 22-23 days and studied during the acute (40 h) and convalescent (4, 10, and 15 days) stages of this experimental enteritis along with noninfected dietary controls. After TGE infection, we observed a further decrease in weight gain and an increased mortality only in undernourished pigs. In jejunum and ileum of both dietary groups at 40 h after TGE infection, we observed comparable structural lesions, similar decreased activities of mucosal enzymes (sucrase, lactase, sodium-potassium-dependent ATPase), and increased thymidine kinase activities. Also we noted comparable diminution of glucose-stimulated jejunal sodium absorption in both dietary groups at 40 h. In control diet pigs, transport abnormalities recovered by 4 days after TGE infection and normal mucosal structure and enzyme activity returned over 4-15 days. In undernourished piglets, structural repair and enzyme abnormalities were prolonged when compared with the control diet group; glucose-stimulated sodium transport did not recover until 10 days after infection and never regained the enhanced activity seen in noninfected undernourished controls.