1. To study the relative contributions of luminal nutrition, bile and pancreatic secretions and hormonal factors in intestinal adaptation, lactation hyperphagia was chosen as a model for increased luminal nutrition, either alone (intestinal transection control group) or in combination with (i) exclusion of bile and pancreatic secretions from the jejunum (by transposition of the jejunum above the Ampulla of Vater) or (ii) exclusion of bile, pancreatic secretions and exogenous luminal nutrition from the jejunum (proximal Thiry—Vella by-pass group).
2. The results confirm that in lactation there is mucosal hyperplasia with increases in villus height and crypt depth, and in small-bowel wet and defatted dry-tissue weights per unit length of intestine.
3. There are corresponding changes in absorptive function with increased glucose and water absorption per unit length of intestine.
4. These structural and functional adaptive changes are proportionately greater in ileum than in jejunum.
5. The exclusion of exogenous luminal nutrition, bile and pancreatic secretions from the jejunum did not diminish the degree of intestinal mucosal hyperplasia and functional adaptation seen in lactation.
6. Diversion to the ileum of greater than normal amounts of bile, pancreatic secretions and luminal nutrition did not further increase the degree of mucosal hyperplasia and enhanced absorption seen in the lactating intestinal transection control group.
7. Unlike other models of intestinal adaptation, the changes in small-bowel mucosal structure and function seen in lactation are problaby due to hormonal factors.