The `8+16' feeding schedule (8h feeding and 16h without food in each 24h cycle) was applied to nursing mother rats to study enzyme development in neonatal rats in the absence of solid food. A `16+8' suckling schedule (16h with the mother and 8h while the mother is fed in a separate cage) was used to show that the increases in pyruvate kinase, glucokinase and aldolase B activities that occur in the late suckling period of liver development do not require the intake of solid food at this time. Their activities may, however, be modulated by the composition of the diet at the time of weaning. Adaptation to the composition of the diet can occur within one feeding period, and to the periodicity of food provision in one or two feeding periods. In the early neonatal period, diurnal rhythms of tyrosine aminotransferase, liver glycogen and glucokinase are either greatly suppressed or absent, but develop rapidly after weaning. Food-dependent rhythms of glycogen and tyrosine aminotransferase were included in the late suckling period (day 14).

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