Bacterial translocation and intestinal morphological findings in jaundiced rats

Pierpaolo Sileri, Sergio Morini, Giuseppe S. Sica, Stefano Schena, Cristiana Rastellini, Achille L. Gaspari, Enrico Benedetti, Luca Cicalese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The susceptibility to sepsis in obstructive jaundice may be related to bacterial translocation (BT) from the gastrointestinal tract. We evaluated BT to visceral organs and morphological changes of the intestinal mucosa in a rat model of obstructive jaundice. Animals were randomly divided into two groups: In group A the common bile duct was tied and divided, while group B had the bile duct mobilized but not tied. After seven days, peritoneal swabs and liver, spleen, pancreas, lung, mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN), cecum, and terminal ileum biopsies were obtained for cultures. Light and electron microscopy were performed on intestinal samples. The TUNEL assay was performed to detect apoptosis. Data were analyzed using Fisher exact test and Student ttest. Bile duct obliteration resulted in an increased incidence of BT. Seven days after duct obliteration, BT to the peritoneal cavity was evident in 37.5% of the animals in group A and 25% in group B. The respective BT rates for the two groups were: 42.8% vs 37.5% to MLN, 71.4% vs 25% to liver, 42.8% vs 12.5% to spleen, 28.6% vs 0% to pancreas and 14.3% vs 0% to lungs. Despite a trend, this was not statistically significant. Cecal counts did not differ statistically among the groups, while ileal counts were significantly higher in jaundiced rats (P < 0.05). Structural and ultrastructural abnormalities were evident only in the mucosa of the terminal ileum of jaundiced rats. Apoptosis was significantly increased in the terminal ileum of jaundiced rats (P < 0.002). This study suggests the possible association of biliary obstruction and BT. The nonspecific physical injury observed may contribute to breakdown of gastrointestinal barrier function thus promoting BT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-934
Number of pages6
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Bacterial translocation
  • Obstructive jaundice
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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