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J Surg Res. 1991 Jul;51(1):18-23.

The role of the gut in the development of sepsis in acute pancreatitis.

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Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical School, Houston 77030.


The pathogenesis of sepsis in acute pancreatitis is unknown. Since the intestinal tract has recently been identified as a possible source for sepsis in other conditions, we explored whether the gut may serve as a reservoir for bacteria causing systemic and pancreatic infection in acute pancreatitis. Bacterial translocation, alterations of intestinal microflora, and intestinal motility, as reflected by gut propulsion, were studied in a rat pancreatitis model. Acute pancreatitis was induced by biliopancreatic obstruction (AP); sham manipulated animals served as controls (sham). Bacteriologic cultures were obtained from various segments of the intestinal tract and from blood, liver, spleen, pancreas, and mesenteric lymph nodes 48 and 96 hr after induction of AP or sham. Bacteria were recovered from mesenteric lymph nodes of all 12 animals with AP, but only from 3/14 sham animals (P less than 0.05). Spread to distant organ sites occurred in 4 of 12 animals with AP compared to none of the sham animals (P less than 0.05). A disruption of the intestinal microflora was found in the cecum, where the gram-negative bacterial count (log/g) was significantly higher during AP when compared with sham controls: 10.62 +/- 1.04 vs 8.05 +/- 1.45 at 48 hr and 7.92 +/- 0.62 vs 6.79 +/- 0.87 at 96 hr, respectively.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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