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  • Author or Editor: K Baintner x
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Short-term effects of orally administered plant lectins, with special reference to the Phaseolus vulgaris agglutinin (phytohaemagglutinin, PHA), were studied in growing rats.  The orally administered PHA elicited a dose-dependent accumulation of liquor with elevated pH in the proximal small intestine. Although the concentration of a-amylase activity did not change, total a-amylase activity slightly, but significantly increased in the gut. When a panel of plant lectins with different carbohydrate binding specificities was tested at the dose of 100 mg/kg body weight, most of them stimulated the secretion of liquor, but the total a-amylase activity was increased only by PHA, ConA or WGA.

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A panel of orally administered lectins (100 mg/kg b.w.) of different binding specificities was tested for suppression of voluntary food consumption in prefasted rats. PHA isolectins (Phaseolus vulgaris) and RPA-I (Robinia pseudoacacia) were found to exert a marked and significant effect, but two other gut-binding lectins, i.e. SBA (Glycine max) and WGA (Triticum vulgare) and several non-binding lectins were ineffective. In cannulated rats PHA infused into the duodenum induced food suppression, i.e. binding of the lectin to the mouth or stomach was unnecessary. Suppression of food consumption lasted through the whole nocturnal feeding period, control (BSA) and experimental (PHA) curves of cumulative food consumption showed a V-like divergence. Suppression by PHA or RPA-I showed very similar time courses, but a long-lasting inhibition of gastric emptying was only observed in the RPA-treated animals. Intraperitoneally administered lectins suppressed food consumption much more effectively than the oral ones, whereas Galanthus nivalis agglutinin (GNA) had little or no effect. It is concluded that lectins can be used as effective tools for the modulation of food consumption and gastric emptying in experimental animals.

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After oral administration several gut-binding lectins induce accumulation of liquor and amylase in the proximal small intestine (2). Orally administered Phaseolus vulgaris phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) was used to study the mediation of these effects in rats. The regulation of amylase secretion clearly differed from that of the liquor. The amylase activity was of pancreatic origin, in agreement with the known cholecystokinin-releasing effect of PHA. It appears that CCK exerts its effect both directly and by facilitating neural stimulatory pathways. Intestinal secretion was identified as the source of the liquor, without a contribution by other secretions. It was mediated by a local cholinergic reflex with the involvement of both muscarinic and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. It is speculated that the observed enteric reflex may enable the gut to transport secreted antibacterial peptides or secretory antibodies from the crypts to adherent bacteria on adjacent villi.

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Binding of fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled concanavalin A to a series of molecular species of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), purified from pathogenic bacteria, was studied via agarose gel precipitation experiments and the results were compared with available structural data.The LPS species could be divided into ConA-reactive and non-reactive ones. Reactivity resided in the O-specific chain of LPS, and binding to the lipid A or core moieties of LPS could not be demonstrated by the present methods. The α-D-glucose or α-D-mannose residues of the repeating O-specific oligosaccharide units appeared to be recognized by ConA, except when blocked by steric hindrance. Specificity of the reaction was verified by inhibition with 2% D-glucose. Binding by bacterium-specific sugar-residues could not be demonstrated.For precipitation to occur, polyvalency was required both for LPS and ConA, and the resulting precipitation appeared to be promoted by hydrophobic interactions between the lipid A moieties of LPS molecules. The LPS species were differently retained by the agarose gel, which can be explained by differences in their micellar structure in aqueous solution. E. coli O83 LPS did not readily diffused in 1% agarose gel, but its precipitation with ConA could be demonstrated either at elevated temperature or mixing it previously with molten agarose (Mancini’s arrangement).

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