a1 Department of Biochemistry, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia
Changes in the concentrations of glucose and galactose were measured in the peripheral blood of ten piglets after they had ingested milk during a natural sucking. In addition, the mild stress associated with the experimental procedure was determined by sampling nine fasted piglets over a period of 9 to 12 min. During this period there was a significant increase in the concentration of glucose in the blood of the piglets but no change in the concentration of galactose. After milk ingestion during a natural sucking the concentrations of both glucose and galactose increased from 5·7 mM and 19 μM to reach peak values of 7·7 mM and 122 μM, respectively, by 30 to 35 min. The concentrations of glucose and galactose returned to initial values in 60–80 min and 80–100 min, respectively, after sucking. Since the change in the concentration of galactose in the peripheral blood was much lower than the change in the concentration of glucose, we conclude that galactose was rapidly removed by the livers of sucking piglets. However, after the ingestion of milk the percentage increase (from initial to peak values) in the concentration of galactose in the blood was much larger (650%) than the increase in the concentration of glucose (43%). Thus, we propose that the determination of galactose in the peripheral blood may provide a qualitative method for monitoring the digestion and absorption of milk lactose in sucking piglets.
(Received November 28 1989)
(Accepted February 15 1990)