The Nutritional Importance of Di- and Tri- Peptides and Expression of the Oligonucleotide PepT1 Transporter in a Short Bowel Model of Intestinal Injury

Lay Summary 

Surgical resection of the small intestine (SI) in newborn and especially preterm infants is common due to gastrointestinal illnesses after birth. Almost half of all preterm infants born before the third trimester require surgical intervention. Surgical resection of the SI may result in short bowel syndrome (SBS), characterized by severe malabsorption of nutrients in addition to long-term intravenous (parenteral) nutrition support. Dependence on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) results in serious complications and morbidity is high in patients. The structural and functional changes that occur in the SI following surgery are not clear and the capacity for adaptation in the neonatal SI has not been quantified.

In our preliminary studies, we have investigated adaptation of the SI in an animal appropriate to model the neonatal infant, the newborn piglet. We have recently finished a study characterizing a piglet model of SBS and have found that SI adaptation does occur in the residual bowel. Animals that had undergone an 80% resection of the proximal SI had remarkably longer residual distal ileum six days after surgery compared to sham animals. Adaptation of length in SBS has not been demonstrated in other models. Some dietary protein is absorbed by the SI as small fragments of proteins called di- and tri-peptides. The capacity for dipeptide absorption appears to be preserved under conditions of small intestinal compromise, including surgical shortening and parenteral feeding. I will investigate structure and function of the SI in a surgically shortened gut after delivery of various dietary dipeptides. Although the nutritional significance of peptide transport has not been quantified, this study may be instrumental in developing a future therapeutic role for dietary peptides in conditions of malnutrition or intestinal injury in humans

St. John's
Newfoundland and Labrador
Industry Sectors 
Scientific Research and Development Services
Health Care and Social Assistance
Start date 
1 Jan 2008
End date 
31 Dec 2011