This study has quantified, for the first time, the relative levels of neuromedin U (NmU) mRNA in the rat gastrointestinal tract using Northern blot analysis. NmU message was detected in all regions of the gastrointestinal tract from the oesophagus to the rectum. The greatest levels were found in the duodenum and jejunum, the principal sites for absorption, which were 2·5- and 3-fold respectively above ileal levels.
Quantification of NmU mRNA and peptide contents in the duodenum, jejunum and ileum during postnatal development of the rat showed message and peptide levels to be greater in the maturing rat than in neonates. Message levels in the duodenum, jejunum and ileum showed 14-, 7- and 4-fold increases respectively between 1 and 56 days after birth, whilst the corresponding peptide levels in the duodenum, jejunum and ileum showed 33-, 14- and 25-fold increases respectively.
Food deprivation caused a small, but significant, decrease in message levels in the jejunum and colon, but there was no change in the duodenum or ileum. This shows that the presence of food has little effect on NmU mRNA levels in the gut.
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