Obstructive jaundice, bacterial translocation and interdigestive small-bowel motility in rats

Digestion. 2000;62(4):255-61. doi: 10.1159/000007824.


Background/aims: Translocation of gut bacteria occurs in obstructive jaundice, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. We designed this experimental study to investigate the association between interdigestive motility and the pathogenesis of bacterial translocation during biliary obstruction.

Methods: Rats were fitted with jejunal myoelectrodes for the measurement of the interdigestive migrating motor complex (MMC) and with two cannulas in the proximal common bile duct (CBD) for exteriorization of biliary flow. This allowed measurement of MMCs under control conditions with an intact enterohepatic circulation and during 3 days of CBD obstruction without surgical intervention. Mesenteric lymph nodes, liver, spleen and segments of the duodenum, the jejunum and the caecum were removed for microbial culturing.

Results: The MMC cycle length increased from 17.3 min before CBD obstruction to 31.9, 34.1, and 25.3 min on days 1, 2 and 3, respectively, after CBD obstruction (p < 0.05 for all days). Bacterial levels in the jejunum were significantly higher in CBD-obstructed rats than in control rats. The translocation incidence was significantly higher in rats with CBD obstruction (6/8) than in control rats (1/8). The bacterial levels in the jejunum correlated significantly with the MMC cycle length (r = 0.60, p <0.05).

Conclusion: Experimental biliary obstruction is associated with disturbance of MMCs, small-bowel bacterial overgrowth and increased bacterial translocation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Translocation*
  • Cholestasis / complications*
  • Cholestasis / microbiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enterococcus faecalis / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility*
  • Jejunum / microbiology
  • Jejunum / physiology
  • Male
  • Myoelectric Complex, Migrating / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley