Acute pancreatitis and bacterial translocation

Dig Dis Sci. 2001 May;46(5):1127-32. doi: 10.1023/a:1010786701289.


Infectious complications are the most frequent and severe complications of acute narcotizing pancreatitis (AP) with a mortality rate up to 80%. Although experimental and clinical studies suggest that the microbiologic source of pancreatic infection could be enteric, information in this regard is scant. This study evaluated bacterial translocation (BT) using mild and severe models of AP. Mild AP was induced by 6-hr continuous intravenous infusion of cerulein, while severe AP was induced by additional infusion of glycodeoxycholic acid into the biliopancreatic duct. BT was evaluated with organ cultures performed when animals were killed (24 hr). To confirm the gastrointestinal origin of the translocating microorganisms, fluorescent microspheres were also given to the animals in drinking water 24 hr before induction of AP. At the time of death beads were counted with a (fluorescence-activated cell sorter) (FACS) in peritoneal lavages and with fluorescent microscopy in frozen sections of the pancreata. Morphology of the distal small bowel showed significant changes in the animals with AP compared to controls, such as reduction of villus high and altered microvasculature. Mild AP induced BT to the pancreas in 100% of the animals, compared to pancreata from control groups. Severe AP induced increased BT to the pancreas. BT to liver and spleen was also significantly increased with AP. The presence of fluorescent microspheres confirmed their enteric derivation. This study provides evidence for the enteric origin of microorganisms responsible for pancreatic infectious complications during AP. The evidence of BT after laparotomy suggests an increased risk of infections with the association of these conditions. This could provide an explanation for the high mortality associated with laparotomy in course of AP.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Translocation / physiology*
  • Intestine, Small / microbiology
  • Intestine, Small / pathology
  • Liver / microbiology
  • Male
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Pancreas / microbiology
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / microbiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Spleen / microbiology