1. Six non-anaesthetized pigs (mean body-weight 57.0 kg) were used to study the intestinal absorption of amino acids (AA) from either an enzymic hydrolysate of milk (PEP) containing a large percentage of small peptides (about 50% with less than five AA residues) and very few free AA (8%), or from a mixture of free AA with an identical pattern (AAL) infused intraduodenally in one of two amounts (55 or 110 g). Concomitant insulin and glucagon production rates were estimated.
2. Each pig was previously fitted, under anaesthesia, with an electromagnetic flow probe. around the portal vein, with permanent catheters in the portal vein, the carotid artery and the duodenum. Each infusion was performed after an 18 h fasting period and each pig received each infusion. The observation period lasted for 5 h.
3. The absorption of AA was greater, more rapid and more homogeneous after PEP infusion than after AAL infusion, independent of the amount infused.
4. For the majority of AA considered individually, the absorption coefficient was higher after infusion of PEP than after that of AAL. The exceptions were methionine with a higher absorption coefficient after AAL infusion, and isoleucine, aspartic acid + asparagine and glutamic acid + glutamine with identical coefficients for both infusions.
5. Some AA, such as asparagine, ornithine, citrulline and taurine, while absent in the infusates, appeared in the portal vein in appreciable amounts after the infusion of both solutions. While a small proportion of taurine may arise from recycling of taurine-containing bile salts, it seems that the gut wall is able to synthesize all four AA.
6. Insulin production did not differ according to the nature or amount of solutions infused. Glucagon production was greater after PEP infusion.