Eight gluten-sensitive Irish setters underwent a gluten challenge to investigate changes in the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis. In the first study, they were challenged with an acute intraduodenal administration of tryptic-peptic gluten digest and then maintained on dietary gluten for three months. In the second study, the challenge came solely from dietary gluten fed for three months. After the acute intraduodenal administration of gluten, serum IGF-I levels decreased signifilcantly by 21-8 per cent, (P=0.01) on day 3 after challenge and then returned to normal. There was also a decrease (52.5 per cent, P<0.03) in the levels of serum IGF-binding protein- 3 (IGFBP-3) until day 14 after challenge but they had returned to normal by day 28. In two dogs IGFBP-3 levels decreased through specific serum protease activity. There were no changes in serum IGF-I or IGFBP levels during the second study after the dietary gluten challenge alone, or in four non-gluten-sensitive beagles studied as controls during the acute intraduodenal/dietary gluten challenge.
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