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Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2007 Oct;99(10):599-603.

[Bacterial DNA in patients with cirrhosis and sterile ascites. Its role as a marker of bacterial translocation and prognostic tool].

[Article in Spanish]

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School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, EE.UU.


During the last decade, we have witnessed an increase in the amount of data related with the presence of bacterial translocation in experimental models of cirrhosis. However, clinical studies have been limited by the lack of non-invasive methods to study this phenomenon. Over the past years, the research developed in our laboratory has been focused on the detection of bacterial DNA in serum and ascitic fluid of patients with cirrhosis and sterile ascites, the clinical and immunological implications of such finding. Initially, by means of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method and automated nucleotide sequencing, we were able to detect and identify the presence of fragments of bacterial DNA in the mentioned patients with culture-negative, non-neutrocytic ascites. Since then, we have accumulated a core of data suggesting that the presence of bacterial DNA may have an important role not only as a marker of bacterial translocation, but also as a short-term prognostic factor. Here, we discuss the past, present and future of this line of investigation.

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