Logo Logo

Böswald, Linda F.; Kienzle, Ellen; Matzek, Dana; Schmitz, Marion; Popper, Bastian A. (2023): Comparative analysis of pancreatic amylase activity in laboratory rodents. Scientific Reports, 13 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

[thumbnail of s41598-023-44532-6.pdf] Published Article

The publication is available under the license Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


Alpha-amylase is the main enzyme for starch digestion in the mammalian gastrointestinal tract. There are species differences in the enzymatic activity of pancreatic amylase that are related to the digestive strategy and natural diet of a species. This aspect is well investigated in pet and farm animals, while in common laboratory animal rodents, information is scarce. In the context of the 3R concept, detailed knowledge of the digestive physiology should be the basis of adequate nutrition, experimental planning and data interpretation. The present study aimed to obtain reference data on amylase activity in pancreatic tissue and duodenal digesta in laboratory mice, rats and hamsters. In addition, digesta was stained with Lugol’s iodine to visualize starch in the process of degradation throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Amylase activity in pancreatic tissue and duodenal digesta was significantly lower in hamsters than rats and mice. The Lugol staining showed intense starch degradation in the hamsters’ forestomachs, presumably by microbial fermentation. A possible explanation is that the prae-duodenal microbial starch fermentation enhances digestibility and reduces the need for pancreatic amylase in hamsters. Rats and mice may rely more on pancreatic amylase for prae-caecal starch digestion, while the microbial fermentation is mainly located in the caecum. The results clearly show species differences in the digestive capacity for starch in mice, rats and hamsters that need to be considered in the feeding of these species in the laboratory setting as well as in the use of rodents as translational animal models.

View Item
View Item