Organ distribution of gut-derived bacteria caused by bowel manipulation or ischemia

Am J Surg. 1990 Jan;159(1):85-9; discussion 89-90. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9610(05)80611-7.


Translocation of carbon-14-labeled Escherichia coli from the gut was studied at the specified times in the following groups of rats: Group 1, 5 hours after ligation of the superior mesenteric artery; Group 2, 5 hours after laparotomy and exposure of the superior mesenteric artery with gentle removal and replacement of the intestines; and Group 3, 5 hours after handling but no surgical manipulation. Both living and dead bacteria were administered by means of gavage, and the effect of viability, intestinal ischemia without reperfusion, and bowel manipulation on the translocation of enteric bacteria was assessed. We demonstrated that (1) even gentle bowel manipulation causes bacteremia as great as that associated with ligation of the superior mesenteric artery; (2) dead E. coli are absorbed into the blood in the presence of bowel manipulation or ischemia but less effectively than are live E. coli; (3) live bacteria are found in highest concentration in the lung and in descending order in the liver, kidney, heart, and spleen; (4) dead bacteria absorbed from the gut are found in highest concentration in the kidney and the liver. Lesser amounts are found in the lung, spleen, and heart.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Blood / microbiology
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification*
  • Heart / microbiology
  • Intestines / blood supply*
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Ischemia / microbiology*
  • Kidney / microbiology
  • Laparotomy
  • Ligation
  • Liver / microbiology
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Male
  • Mesenteric Arteries / surgery
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Spleen / microbiology
  • Viscera / microbiology*


  • Carbon Radioisotopes