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Chin Med J (Engl). 2003 May;116(5):767-71.

Effects of lactulose on intestinal endotoxin and bacterial translocation in cirrhotic rats.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Zhongshan Hospital, Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai 200032, China.



To investigate the effects of lactulose on intestinal bacterial overgrowth (IBO), bacterial translocation (BT), intestinal transit and permeability in cirrhotic rats.


BT in all animals was assessed by bacterial culture of mesenteric lymph node (MLN), liver and spleen, and IBO was assessed by a jejunal bacterial count of the specific organism. Intestinal permeability was determined by the 24-hour urinary (99m)Tc-diethylenetriamine pentaacetatic acid ((99m)Tc-DTPA) excretion, and intestinal transit was determined by measuring the distribution of (51)Cr in the intestine.


BT and IBO were found in 48% and 80% of the cirrhotic rats, respectively, while not in the control rats. Cirrhotic rats with IBO had significantly higher levels of intestinal endotoxin higher rates of bacterial translocation, shorter intestinal transit time and higher intestinal permeability than those without IBO. It was also found that BT were closely associated with IBO and injury of the intestinal barrier. Compared with the placebo group, lactulose-treated rats had lower rates of BT and IBO, which were closely associated with increased intestinal transit and improved intestinal permeability by lactulose.


Our study indicate that endotoxin and bacterial translocation in cirrhotic rats may attribute to IBO and increased intestinal permeability. Lactulose that accelerates intestinal transit and improves intestinal permeability might be helpful in preventing intestinal bacterial and endotoxin translocation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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