The Contribution of Intestinal Gluconeogenesis to Glucose Homeostasis Is Low in 2-Day-Old Pigs

Claire Cherbuy, Pierre Vaugelade, Simon Labarthe, Edith Honvo-Houeto, Béatrice Darcy-Vrillon, Malcolm Watford, Pierre Henri Duée

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Active gluconeogenesis is essential to maintain blood glucose concentrations in neonatal piglets because of the high glucose requirements after birth. In several adult mammals, the liver, kidney, and possibly the gut may exhibit gluconeogenesis during fasting and insulinopenic conditions. During the postnatal period, the intestine expresses all of the gluconeogenic enzymes, suggesting the potential for gluconeogenesis. Galactose in milk is a potential gluconeogenic precursor for newborns.Objective: Our aim was to quantify the rate of intestinal glucose production from galactose in piglets compared with the overall rate of glucose production.Methods: A single bolus of [U-14C]-galactose was injected into 2-d-old piglets (females and males; mean ± SEM weight: 1.64 ± 0.07 kg) through a gastric catheter. Galactosemia, glycemia, and glucose turnover rate (assessed by monitoring d-[6-3H]-glucose) were monitored. Intestinal glucose production from [U-14C]-galactose was calculated from [U-14C]-glucose appearance in the blood and isotopic dilution. Galactose metabolism was also investigated in vitro in enterocytes isolated from 2-d-old piglets that were incubated with increasing concentrations of galactose.Results: In piglet enterocytes, galactose metabolism was active (mean ± SEM maximum rate of reaction: 2.26 ± 0.45 nmol · min-1 · 106 cells-1) and predominantly oriented toward lactate and pyruvate production (74.0% ± 14.5%) rather than glucose production (26.0% ± 14.5%). In conscious piglets, gastric galactose administration led to an increase in arterial galactosemia (from 0 to 1.0 ± 0.8 mmol/L) and glycemia (35% ± 12%). The initial increase in arterial glycemia after galactose administration was linked to an increase in glucose production rate (33% ± 15%) rather than to a decrease in glucose utilization rate (3% ± 6%). The contribution of intestinal glucose production from galactose was <10% of total glucose production in 2-d-old piglets.Conclusion: Our results indicate that there is a low contribution to glucose homeostasis from intestinal gluconeogenesis in 2-d-old piglets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-366
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • galactose
  • gluconeogenesis
  • glucose turnover
  • intestine
  • pig

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