To evaluate the effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) in dietary milk, a new method of delivering an artificial (EGF-deficient) formula was developed using 42 rat pups, 1-14 days of age. In a second study the effect of EGF was evaluated in suckling rats from 3-11 days of age: group 1, mother-fed; group 2, mother-fed plus daily injections of EGF (0.1 µg/g body weight); group 3, artificial milk fed with added EGF (62 ng/ml); and group 4, artificial milk fed without EGF. Each group consists of nine rats. In group 2 there was premature eye opening and tooth eruption and a significant reduction in body weight and weight of liver, kidney, thyroid, and thymus but an increase in length of the intestine and weights of stomach, pancreas, lung, and adrenal (p < 0.04), when compared to group 1. Both groups 3 and 4 showed premature tooth eruption and eye opening, and their body weights and most organ weights were similar to group 2; exceptions were a smaller stomach, thyroid, thymus, lung, and adrenal, which were similar to those in group 1. In addition, intestinal length in groups 3 and 4 were similar to the mother-fed EGF-treated pups (group 2). There was no difference in intestinal length between the artificially fed pups, whether or not they received oral EGF. These findings demonstrate a new and effective technique of artificial feeding and suggest that the increase in intestinal length caused by injections of EGF (0.1 µg/g body weight) can also be induced by feeding an artificial milk with or without physiologic levels of EGF.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health