Intestinal Lactase Activity in the Suckling Rat: Influence of Hypophysectomy and Thyroidectomy

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Science  11 Jan 1974:
Vol. 183, Issue 4120, pp. 77-79
DOI: 10.1126/science.183.4120.77


Intestinal lactase activity, which is high in the infant rat intestine but falls to a low level by the end of the third week, fails to decline in animals hypophysectomized at the age of 6 days. Treating these animals with thyroxine lowers lactase activity to the control level at 24 days, but cortisone is only partly effective. Thyroidectomy at 6 days also results in persistence of high lactase activity; thyroxine again is more effective than cortisone in reducing activity. The thyroid gland appears to play a previously unsuspected role in intestinal maturation.