Indexed on: 29 May '18Published on: 29 May '18Published in: The journal of nutrition, health & aging
Glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) plays a major role in repairing impaired intestinal mucosa, but its mechanism in the improvement of intestinal barrier function during the aging process remains unclear. In this study, 26-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to control group and GLP-2 group treated with a dose of 250 μg•kg-1•d-1 by intraperitoneal injection. After 14 days of treatment, intestinal mucosal morphometric changes were observed by light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Small intestinal permeability was evaluated by fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled dextran. The mRNA and protein expression of Zonula Occludens-1 (ZO-1), occludin, claudin-1 and the GLP-2 receptor (GLP-2R) were detected by Real-time PCR and Western blot. Our results showed that GLP-2 administration significantly improved the age-related atrophy of intestinal mucosa and villi and increased small intestinal permeability. The mRNA and protein expression of ZO-1and occludin in ileum were up regulated in the GLP-2-treated old rats. In addition, the serum GLP-2 levels were negatively correlated with small intestinal permeability measured by FITC-dextran levels (r=-0.610, P<0.01). Taking all these data together, it is concluded that GLP-2 improved small intestinal epithelial barrier function in aged rats mainly by facilitating intestinal mucosa growth, alleviating the increased small intestinal permeability and increasing ZO-1 and occludin expression. Our observations provide evidence for the clinical significance of GLP-2 in preventing the intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction during aging.