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Transplantation. 1991 Aug;52(2):221-4.

Intestinal permeability and bacterial translocation following small bowel transplantation in the rat.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Western Ontario, Canada.


In addition to its role in absorbing nutrients, the intestinal mucosa provides an important barrier against toxins and bacteria in the bowel lumen. The present study evaluated gut barrier function following orthotopic (in continuity) intestinal grafting in rats. Graft histology, intestinal permeability, and bacterial translocation to the grafted mesenteric lymph nodes, the host's liver, and the host's spleen were assessed on the 3rd, 5th, and 7th postoperative days. The study group received no immunosuppression after allotransplantation. The two control groups included rats with isografts and rats with cyclosporine-treated allografts. On the 7th POD, the study animals had moderate transmural inflammation due to rejection, with normal histology in the isografts and CsA-treated allografts; increased intestinal permeability, measured by urinary excretion of oral 51Cr-EDTA (P less than 0.01); and increased number of bacteria in the MLN and spleen (P less than 0.05). The number of bacteria in the MLN and spleen of the study group positively correlated with the changes in intestinal permeability (P less than 0.05). Rejection of the orthotopic intestinal graft leads to increased intestinal permeability and bacterial translocation from the lumen of the graft to the host's reticuloendothelial system. Measures to improve gut barrier function and antibiotic therapy during rejection episodes may help reduce the incidence of septic complications after intestinal grafting.

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