The effect of cholecalciferol and its metabolites on ornithine decarboxylase activity was investigated in the duodenal mucosa of vitamin D-deficient chicks. The duodenal ornithine decarboxylase activity decreased in animals fed a vitamin D-deficient diet and its retarded activity was increased dose-dependently by a single injection of cholecalciferol. Among various metabolites of cholecalciferol tested, 1 alpha, 25-dihydroxycholecalciferol [ 1 alpha, 25 (OH)2D3] was the most potent stimulator. Stimulation of the enzyme activity was detected as early as 2h after intravenous administration of 1 alpha, 25 (OH)2D3 and a maximal value was attained at 6 h. The maximal value was 27 times higher than the control. In addition, treatment with 1 alpha 25 (OH)2D3 affected the duodenal content of polyamines. The content of putrescine increased to a value of three times that of the control 6 h after the hormone administration. The spermidine content did not change appreciably. The enhancement of duodenal ornithine decarboxylase activity by 1 alpha, 25 (OH)2D3 occurred in parallel with the enhancement of calcium absorption, which was first detected 3 h after the hormone administration. The enhancement appeared to be tissue-specific. It was observed in every intestinal segment, but was highest in the duodenum. Enzyme activity in other tissues was not influenced appreciably by 1 alpha, 25 (OH)2D3. These results clearly indicate that the duodenal biosynthesis of polyamines is regulated by 1 alpha, 25 (OH)2D3, suggesting the possibility that duodenal ornithine decarboxylase may be involved in the calcium absorption mechanism.

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