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J Am Coll Surg. 2000 Apr;190(4):423-31.

Beneficial effects of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor I on intestinal bacterial translocation, endotoxemia, and apoptosis in experimentally jaundiced rats.

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Department of Pathology, University of Patras, School of Medicine, Greece.



This study was undertaken to investigate the effect of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), two well-known growth factors, on bacterial translocation, endotoxemia, enterocyte apoptosis, and intestinal and liver histology in a model of experimental obstructive jaundice in rats.


One hundred six male Wistar rats were divided into five groups: I (n = 21), controls; II (n = 22), sham operated; III (n = 22), bile duct ligation (BDL); IV (n = 21), BDL and GH treatment; and V (n = 20), BDL and IGF-I administration. By the end of the experiment, on day 10, blood bilirubin was determined, and mesenteric lymph nodes, liver specimens, and bile from the bile duct stump were cultured. Endotoxin was measured in portal and aortic blood. Tissue samples from the terminal ileum and liver were examined histologically and apoptotic body count (ABC) in intestinal mucosa was evaluated. Mucosal DNA and protein content were also determined.


Bilirubin increased significantly after BDL (p < 0.001). Bile from the bile duct was sterile. In group III, MLN and liver specimens were contaminated by gut origin bacteria (significant versus group I and II, p < 0.001, respectively). GH reduced significantly positive cultures (p < 0.01), and IGF-I had no effect. BDL resulted in significant increase in portal and aortic endotoxemia (p < 0.001); treatment with GH and IGF-I reduced it (p < 0.001). Mucosal DNA and protein content were reduced in animals with BDL and after treatment with GH or IGF-I; an increase to almost normal levels was noted in DNA, but not in protein. Overall the ileal architecture remained intact in all animal groups. The ABC increased after BDL. After GH and IGF-I administration, the ABC decreased significantly, and there was no difference between GH and IGF-I treated animals. After BDL, liver biopsies displayed typical changes of biliary obstruction, which were significantly improved after administration of GH and IGF-I.


Treatment with GH and IGF-I in rats with experimental obstructive jaundice reduces endotoxemia, and it improves liver histology. Apoptosis, in the intestinal epithelium, may serve as a morphologic marker of the ileal mucosal integrity, demonstrating the proliferative potential of GH and IGF-I in cases of obstructive jaundice, and this might be of potential value in patients with such conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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