1. The levels of the brush-border enzymes sucrase (sucrose glucohydrolase, EC 184.108.40.206), isomaltase (oligo-1,6-glucosidase, EC 220.127.116.11), maltases 2 and 3 (glucoamylase, EC 18.104.22.168), lactase (β-galactosidase, EC 22.214.171.124) and trehalase ( EC 126.96.36.199) and adsorbed pancreatic α-amylase ( EC 188.8.131.52) have been measured at twenty-one positions along the small intestines of eighty-four pigs of ... [Show full abstract] different ages ranging from 3 weeks to 4.5 years. The state of dilation of the intestine at the sampling points was noted.
2. The levels of sucrase and isomaltase increased with age throughout the age-range studied. Trehalase and the glucoamylases increased with age up to 200–300 d of age. Lactase decreased with age over the whole age range.
3. For the pigs above 10 weeks of age, the distribution pattern of the brush-border enzymes along the intestine did not change with age. Each enzyme had a characteristic distribution curve, with low values at the proximal and distal ends and a peak which was proximal in the instance of lactase and trehalase and approximately mid-way along the gut with sucrase, isomaltase and the glucoamylases.
4. The pattern of distribution of the brush-border enzymes altered with age in the piglets, but approached the adult pattern by 8 weeks.
5. Piglets weaned at 3 weeks had higher levels of sucrase, isomaltase and glucoamylases at 5 weeks than piglets left on the sow. At 8 weeks of age the piglets weaned at 3 weeks still had higher sucrase and isomaltase levels than those on the sow.
6. There was a very close correlation between the sucrase and isomaltase levels, and between the maltase 2 and maltase 3 levels in all the samples, and a fairly close correlation between all these four enzymes.
7. The level of α-amylase increased with age but showed no regular distribution pattern, its irregular fluctuations being related to the presence or absence of dilation of the intestine at the time of slaughter rather than to the position along the intestine.