The short-term effects of high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet on aminopeptidase N activity were studied in the brush-border membranes of proximal jejunum and proximal ileum of adult rats. The animals were starved overnight and re-fed for 15 h either with a standard diet (20% protein, 55% carbohydrate, in terms of energy content) or with a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet of equal energy content (70% protein, 5% carbohydrate). All rats consumed similar amounts of diet, and measurements were made 15 h after initiation of re-feeding. In the proximal jejunum a slight increase in aminopeptidase activity was observed after the high-protein intake. In contrast, considerable stimulation (52%) of the enzyme specific activity was obtained in the proximal ileum. This increase in ileal aminopeptidase activity was more prominent in the mature cells of the upper villus. To determine if the increase of aminopeptidase activity was due to an increased amount of enzyme protein, rocket immunoelectrophoresis was performed with detergent-solubilized brush-border protein from ileum on agarose gels containing anti-(rat brush-border) antiserum. When the same amount of enzyme activity was loaded on the gels, the peaks of immunoprecipitate for aminopeptidase were similar for animals fed on a standard or a high-protein diet. When the same amount of protein was loaded, the peak of immunoprecipitate for aminopeptidase was higher (81%) after a high-protein diet. These results showed that the high protein intake evoked an increase in aminopeptidase activity, with a concomitant increase in the amount of immunoreactive protein.

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