Intestinal bacterial overgrowth and bacterial translocation in cirrhotic rats with ascites

J Hepatol. 1997 Jun;26(6):1372-8. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8278(97)80474-6.


Background/aims: Translocation of indigenous bacteria from the gut lumen of cirrhotic animals to mesenteric lymph nodes appears to be an important step in the pathogenesis of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. However, the sequence of events leading to translocation remains unclear. One of the most predictable risk factors for translocation is overgrowth of gut bacterial flora. The present study was designed to compare the intestinal aerobic bacterial flora of cecal stools at the time of sacrifice between cirrhotic and normal rats and to evaluate the role of intestinal aerobic bacterial overgrowth in bacterial translocation in cirrhotic rats.

Methods: Thirty-five male Sprague-Dawley rats with carbon tetrachloride-induced cirrhosis and ascites and 10 normal rats were included in this study. Cirrhotic rats were sacrificed when ill and samples of ascitic fluid, mesenteric lymph nodes and cecal stool were taken for detecting quantitatively aerobic bacteria.

Results: Total intestinal aerobic bacterial count in cecal stool at the time of sacrifice was significantly increased in cirrhotic rats with bacterial translocation with or without spontaneous bacterial peritonitis compared to cirrhotic rats without bacterial translocation (p<0.001 and p<0.001, respectively) and to normal rats (p<0.001 and p<0.001, respectively). Of the 42 species of bacteria translocating to the mesenteric lymph nodes, 41 (97.6%) were found in supranormal numbers in the stool at the time of sacrifice.

Conclusions: Carbon tetrachloride-induced cirrhotic rats with bacterial translocation have increased total intestinal aerobic bacteria count, and intestinal bacterial overgrowth appears to play an important role in bacterial translocation in this experimental model of cirrhosis in rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascites / microbiology
  • Bacteria, Aerobic / growth & development*
  • Bacteria, Aerobic / isolation & purification
  • Carbon Tetrachloride Poisoning / complications
  • Cecum / microbiology
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / complications*
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / physiopathology
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / microbiology*
  • Lymph Nodes / microbiology
  • Male
  • Peritonitis / complications
  • Peritonitis / microbiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reference Values