Intermittent bolus feeding enhances organ growth more than continuous feeding in a neonatal piglet model

Samer W. El-Kadi, Claire Boutry-Regard, Agus Suryawan, Hanh V. Nguyen, Scot R. Kimball, Marta L. Fiorotto, Teresa A. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Orogastric tube feeding is frequently prescribed for neonates who cannot ingest food normally. In a piglet model of the neonate, greater skeletal muscle growth is sustained by upregulation of translation initiation signaling when nutrition is delivered by intermittent bolus meals, rather than continuously. Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the long-term effects of feeding frequency on organ growth and the mechanism by which feeding frequency modulates protein anabolism in these organs. Methods: Eighteen neonatal pigs were fed by gastrostomy tube the same amount of a sow milk replacer either by continuous infusion (CON) or on an intermittent bolus schedule (INT). After 21 d of feeding, the pigs were killed without interruption of feeding (CON; n = 6) or immediately before (INT-0; n = 6) or 60 min after (INT-60; n = 6) a meal, and fractional protein synthesis rates and activation indexes of signaling pathways that regulate translation initiation were measured in the heart, jejunum, ileum, kidneys, and liver. Results: Compared with continuous feeding, intermittent feeding stimulated the growth of the liver (+64%), jejunum (+48%), ileum (+40%), heart (+64%), and kidney (+56%). The increases in heart, kidney, jejunum, and ileum masses were proportional to whole body lean weight gain, but liver weight gain was greater in the INT-60 than the CON, and intermediate for the INT-0 group. For the liver and ileum, but not the heart, kidney, and jejunum, INT-60 compared with CON pigs had greater fractional protein synthesis rates (22% and 48%, respectively) and was accompanied by an increase in ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E binding protein 1 phosphorylation. Conclusions: These results suggest that intermittent bolus compared with continuous orogastric feeding enhances organ growth and that in the ileum and liver, intermittent feeding enhances protein synthesis by stimulating translation initiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number170
JournalCurrent Developments in Nutrition
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Intermittent bolus feeding enhances organ growth more than continuous feeding in a neonatal piglet model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this