[en] Spermine, a low molecular weight polyamine, administered orally to suckling rats induces the maturation of the small intestine. In this organ, lysozyme is an important component of the innate immunity. In this report, we analysed the binding of spermine to lysozyme and its effect on thermal inactivation of the protein by spectroscopy techniques. The activity of the enzyme was analysed in presence of spermine by lysoplate technique. We studied the effects of spermine ingestion by suckling rats on intestinal lysozyme activity and gene expression. We reported that spermine binds to lysozyme and increases in vitro the thermal stability and the activity of the protein. When administered orally to suckling rats, spermine increases the lysozyme activity in jejunum, but not in ileum. This increase is not due to a modification of the gene expression. The observed effects lead us to postulate that spermine could be used in some mammals as a promoter of the innate immunity. (C) 2004 Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.