Objective: The aims of this study were to explore the concomitant changes of the barrier function, bacterial translocation, absorption, and small intestinal motility in rats after liver transplantation and to correlate these changes with levels of plasma endotoxin.
Methods: Thirty Wistar rats were divided randomly between a sham operation group (n=10) and a liver transplantation group (n=10 pairs). The intestinal transit function, intestinal permeability, bacterial translocation, absorption function, levels of plasma endotoxin, and nitrogen monoxide (NO) changes in plasma and small intestinal mucosa were monitored in the two groups. The expression of iNOS mRNA in the intestine was investigated by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reactions.
Results: Significant differences were observed between the liver transplantation group and the sham operation group for aspects of intestinal transit function, intestinal permeability, bacterial translocation, absorption function, and NO changes in both plasma and small intestine. Compared with the sham operation group, the expression of iNOS mRNA was significantly increased (P<.05) in the small intestine of rats that had undergone liver transplantation.
Conclusion: The functions of motility, barrier, and absorption in the intestine were decreased among rats that had undergone liver transplantation. Reduced motility in the small intestine of the rats following liver transplantation may be related to the enhanced expression of iNOS in the intestine with a negative correlation to plasma levels of endotoxin.