Delayed disaccharidase development in a rabbit model of intrauterine growth retardation

T. L. Buchmiller-Crair, Jeffrey Gregg, Jr Rivera F.A., R. S. Choi, J. M. Diamond, E. W. Fonkalsrud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) affects almost 10% of infants born in the United States. It may be responsible for delayed gastrointestinal function and is an important cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality. The New Zealand White rabbit provides an optimal model for the study of naturally occurring IUGR. At term, birth weight is determined by fetal position within the bicornuate uterus. The small intestinal disaccharidase enzymes are indicators of bowel maturity and function. To examine potential differences in disaccharidase development between normal and IUGR fetuses, this rabbit model was investigated. Jejunum was harvested at multiple stages in rabbit development including the third trimester fetus, neonate, and adult. Lactase, maltase, and sucrase enzyme activity, as well as total protein content, was determined. Results were analyzed by the 2-tailed t test and ANOVA Lactase activity appeared in the mid-third trimester, peaked in the early neonatal period, then declined to adult levels. Maltase activity appeared in the early third trimester and gradually rose to adult levels. Sucrase remained at trace levels until the mid-neonatal period, reaching adult levels by weaning. Both lactase and maltase activity were depressed in IUGR fetuses compared with their normal littermates. This pattern of disaccharidase depression continued into the neonatal period until catch-up growth occurred at 2 wk when levels equalized. This report describes differential small intestinal disaccharidase development between normal and growth-retarded rabbit fetuses in a naturally occurring model of IUGR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-524
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Delayed disaccharidase development in a rabbit model of intrauterine growth retardation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this