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J Surg Res. 2004 Apr;117(2):272-82.

Altered glycosylation of surfactant and brush border membrane of the small intestine in response to surgical manipulation.

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  • 1The Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College, Vellore-632004, India.



Surgical stress can lead to bacterial translocation from the intestine into systemic circulation. Adherence of bacteria onto the glycoconjugates of the brush border membrane (BBM) and surfactant coat (SLP) of the mucosal cells is the first step in the translocation of luminal bacteria. Our earlier study showed that surgical manipulation of the intestine results in oxidative stress leading to structural and functional alterations in the mucosa. This study looks at the effect of surgical manipulation on the glycoconjugate alterations of SLP and BBM.


SLP and BBM were isolated from control and after surgical manipulation and the sugar composition was analyzed. Bacterial adherence using E. coli isolated from cecum was compared after coating microtiter plates with SLP or BBM isolated from control and after surgical manipulation.


An increase in various sugars was seen after surgical manipulation both in SLP and BBM and this increase was maximum at 12 h after surgery. These alterations increased bacterial adherence onto SLP and BBM. Inhibiting superoxide generation by allopurinol treatment prior to surgical manipulation prevented glycosylation alteration and bacterial adherence.


Surgical manipulation results in altered glycoconjugates of SLP and BBM which leads to increased bacterial adherence. These alterations are probably brought about by oxygen-free radicals. This is clinically significant because postsurgical complications such as sepsis may be brought about by altered glycosylation.

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