A transient increase in ornithine decarboxylase activity and polyamine biosynthesis occurs in the intestinal mucosa of the newborn rat in the third week after birth. During this period, there is a rapid conversion of the mucosa from a fetal to a mature adult status. A similar increase in ornithine decarboxylase activity also ac-companies the rapid recovery of the mucosa 1 week after an injury is induced by chemotherapy in adult rats. In vivo, α-difluoromethyl ornithine, a highly selective, enzyme-activated, irreversible inhibitor, suppresses these increases in mucosal ornithine decarboxylase and delays both intestinal mucosal maturation and recovery from injury. Thus increased ornithine decarboxylase activity, with the resultant increase in polyamine content, may play an essential role in intestinal mucosal maturation and regeneration in the rat.
ASJC Scopus subject areas