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Ann Surg. 1995 Mar;221(3):299-307.

Elemental diet and IV-TPN-induced bacterial translocation is associated with loss of intestinal mucosal barrier function against bacteria.

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Department of Surgery, UMDNJ New Jersey Medical School, Newark, USA.



The goal of the current study was to directly assess the role of loss of mucosal barrier function in nutritionally induced bacterial translocation.


Parenteral and certain elemental enteral diets have been shown to promote bacterial translocation. The mechanisms underlying this observation, especially the question of whether nutritionally induced bacterial translocation is primarily related to loss of intestinal barrier function, versus an impaired immune system, remain to be fully elucidated.


Bacterial translocation was measured in vivo, ileal mucosal membranes were harvested, and their electrophysiologic properties and barrier function were measured ex vivo in the Ussing chamber system 7 days after receiving total parenteral nutrition solution parenterally (IV-TPN) or enterally (elemental diet). Chow-fed rats served as control subjects.


The incidence of bacterial translocation was significantly increased both to the mesenteric lymph nodes in vivo and across the in vitro Ussing chamber-mounted ileal mucosal membranes of the elemental diet-fed and IV-TPN-fed rats. The magnitude of Escherichia coli and phenol red transmucosal passage in the Ussing chamber was significantly higher in the IV-TPN-fed rats than in the elemental diet-fed or chow-fed animals. The potential differences across the ileal membrane were similar between the three groups at all time points. However, the specific resistances of the ileal membranes of the IV-TPN and elemental diet groups were significantly less than the chow-fed animals, indicating increased membrane permeability.


Loss of intestinal barrier function plays a major role in nutritionally induced bacterial translocation, and the loss of mucosal barrier function to both E. coli and phenol red appeared greater in the IV-TPN than the elemental diet-fed rats.

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