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Surgery. 2001 Jul;130(1):65-73.

Surgical stress shifts the intestinal Escherichia coli population to that of a more adherent phenotype: role in barrier regulation.

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Department of Surgery, The University of Chicago Medical Center and the Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.

Erratum in

  • Surgery 2001 Oct;130(4):592.



We have shown that the combination of surgical stress and starvation in mice is associated with a defect in epithelial permeability and increased numbers of mucosa-associated Escherichia coli in the cecum. The aim of this study was to determine the specific role of mucosa-associated E coli on epithelial barrier dysfunction in this model.


Cecal E coli were harvested from mice 48 hours after a sham operation (control mice) or after a 30% surgical hepatectomy with only water provided ad libitum (short-term starvation) after the surgical procedure. Strains were tested for their ability to adhere to and alter the transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) of cultured young adult mouse colon epithelial cells. TEER changes were further characterized by mannitol fluxes to confirm a defect in paracellular permeability.


Strains of cecal E coli harvested from hepatectomy-starved mice adhered to and altered the permeability of young adult mouse colon cells, whereas E coli from the cecum of control mice were less adherent and had no effect on epithelial permeability. The effect of the strains harvested from mice after hepatectomy on the TEER of young adult mouse colon cells was inhibited by mannose and reversed by ciprofloxacin.


The combination of surgical stress and short-term starvation is associated with a greater abundance of adherent and barrier-altering strains of E coli in the mouse cecum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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