Objective Glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1), synthesized in and released from enteroendocrine cells in the small and large intestine, has been shown to play an important role in the regulation of nutrient assimilation, intestinal growth and function. We aimed to study umbilical cord blood GLP-1 concentrations in intrauterine-growth-restricted (IUGR, usually associated with decreased intestinal growth, feeding intolerance and increased incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis) and appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA) pregnancies.
Methods GLP-1 concentrations were determined by radioimmunoassay in 50 mixed arterio-venous cord blood samples from IUGR (n = 14) and appropriate for gestational age (AGA) (n = 36) singleton full-term infants.
Results No significant differences in GLP-1 concentrations were found between AGA and IUGR groups. The effect of birthweight, customized centile, gestational age, gender, mode of delivery and parity on GLP-1 concentrations was not significant.
Conclusions GLP-1 is present in human cord blood at birth. The lack of significant differences in GLP-1 concentrations between IUGR and AGA groups possibly suggests that GLP-1 may not be involved in the pathogenesis of the abnormal intestinal growth and function associated with IUGR. In the narrow age interval studied, no significant effect of fetal maturation on GLP-1 concentrations was observed. Finally, GLP-1 concentrations are independent of parity, gender and delivery mode. However, since this is a preliminary study, additional ones are required to further elucidate the role of this peptide during the perinatal period.