Patching small intestinal defects with colon serosa results in the growth of functional neomucosa. However, the rate of neomucosal growth is slow and the defect contracts markedly. The aim of this study was to determine if systemic urogastrone would enhance neomucosal growth. Twenty-two New Zealand white rabbits had two 2 × 5-cm ileal defects patched with colon serosa and osmotic pumps placed subcutaneously. Eleven animals had saline infused at a rate of 5 μl/hr. The other eleven rabbits had urogastrone (1 mg/ml saline) infused at the same rate. One animal died in this group. There was a modest increase in neomucosal growth after 2 weeks of urogastrone infusion. Three weeks after patching, defect coverage was significantly greater in the urogastrone group (99.8 ± 0.1 vs 96.0 ± 1.2%, P < 0.005) and more defects were completely covered by neomucosa ( 6 10 vs 1 12, P < 0.05). Less contraction occurred in the urogastrone group (46 ± 2 vs 35 ± 3% initial defect, P < 0.005) and resultant neomucosal surface area was greater (361 ± 12 vs 266 ± 20 mm2, P < 0.0005). In vitro glucose uptake was significantly greater in the urogastrone group but disaccharidase and diamine oxidase activity were similar. Crypt cell production rate was significantly greater 2 weeks after operation compared to 3 weeks in both groups and was greater in the urogastrone group compared to the saline group at 2 weeks (24.9 ± 1.1 vs 20.1 ± 1.1, P < 0.02). Systemic urogastrone enhances neomucosal growth by increasing the rate of growth and diminishing contraction. A marked proliferative response is associated with intestinal patching prior to 21 days and is increased by systemic urogastrone.
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