• Regulation of intestinal growth in response to variations in energy supply and demand

      Nilaweera, Kanishka; Speakman, John R.; Science Foundation Ireland; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC); SFI/16/BBSRC/3389; BB/P009875/1 (Wiley, 2018-12-03)
      The growth of the intestine requires energy, which is known to be met by catabolism of ingested nutrients. Paradoxically, during whole body energy deficit including calorie restriction, the intestine grows in size. To understand how and why this happens, we reviewed data from several animal models of energetic challenge. These were bariatric surgery, cold exposure, lactation, dietary whey protein intake and calorie restriction. Notably, these challenges all reduced the adipose tissue mass, altered hypothalamic neuropeptide expression and increased intestinal size. Based on these data, we propose that the loss of energy in the adipose tissue promotes the growth of the intestine via a signalling mechanism involving the hypothalamus. We discuss possible candidates in this pathway including data showing a correlative change in intestinal (ileal) expression of the cyclin D1 gene with adipose tissue mass, adipose derived‐hormone leptin and hypothalamic expression of leptin receptor and the pro‐opiomelanocortin gene. The ability of the intestine to grow in size during depletion of energy stores provides a mechanism to maximize assimilation of ingested energy and in turn sustain critical functions of tissues important for survival.
    • Whey protein isolate decreases murine stomach weight and intestinal length and alters the expression of Wnt signalling-associated genes

      McAllan, Liam; Speakman, John R.; Cryan, John F.; Nilaweera, Kanishka (Cambridge University Press, 13/01/2015)
      The present study examined the underlying mechanisms by which whey protein isolate (WPI) affects energy balance. C57BL/6J mice were fed a diet containing 10 % energy from fat, 70 % energy from carbohydrate (35 % energy from sucrose) and 20 % energy from casein or WPI for 15 weeks. Mice fed with WPI had reduced weight gain, cumulative energy intake and dark-phase VO2 compared with casein-fed mice (P< 0·05); however, WPI intake had no significant effects on body composition, meal size/number, water intake or RER. Plasma levels of insulin, TAG, leptin, glucose and glucagon-like peptide 1 remained unchanged. Notably, the intake of WPI reduced stomach weight and both length and weight of the small intestine (P< 0·05). WPI intake reduced the gastric expression of Wingless/int-1 5a (Wnt5a) (P< 0·01) and frizzled 4 (Fzd4) (P< 0·01), with no change in the expression of receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 2 (Ror2) and LDL receptor-related protein 5 (Lrp5). In the ileum, WPI increased the mRNA expression of Wnt5a (P< 0·01) and caused a trend towards an increase in the expression of Fzd4 (P= 0·094), with no change in the expression of Ror2 and Lrp5. These genes were unresponsive in the duodenum. Among the nutrient-responsive genes, WPI specifically reduced ileal mRNA expression of peptide YY (P< 0·01) and fatty acid transporter protein 4 (P< 0·05), and decreased duodenal mRNA expression of the insulin receptor (P= 0·05), with a trend towards a decreased expression of Na–glucose co-transporter 1 (P= 0·07). The effects of WPI on gastrointestinal Wnt signalling may explain how this protein affects gastrointestinal structure and function and, in turn, energy intake and balance.