An abnormally high level of the sucrase-isomaltase (SI) complex in the small intestine of rats with streptozotocin-induced insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) was normalized in 11 h by the administration of insulin, in addition to normalization of the blood glucose level. Phlorizin, an inhibitor of renal glucose reabsorption, also caused normalization of the blood glucose level in the IDDM rats; however, the level of the SI complex was barely changed. When mucosa explants were cultured in a medium, the SI complex synthesized during the cultivation was accumulated as its precursor protein without maturation, owing to the absence of pancreatic proteases, and the amount of the precursor protein that accumulated in the explants was decreased by the addition of insulin into the medium. Further, the mRNA level of the SI complex in the explants incubated with insulin was obviously lower than that in the absence of insulin. These results indicate that insulin has a suppressive effect on the synthesis of the SI complex, presumably by decreasing the transcriptional level of the gene encoding the complex, in small-intestinal epithelial cells. Thus the synthesis of the SI complex might exceed normal levels in the epithelial cells as a direct result of the depletion of insulin under IDDM conditions.

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