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Open Access

Previous bacterial translocation challenge enhances peripheral blood bacterial clearance in the subsequent sepsis

  • AY Watanabe1,
  • RM Silva1,
  • AMA Liberatore1,
  • JL Menchaca-Diaz1,
  • RK Toma1,
  • GL Buchele1,
  • L Vilela-Oliveira1,
  • MB Morais1,
  • U Fagundes-Neto1 and
  • IHJ Koh1
Critical Care20059(Suppl 2):P51

Published: 9 June 2005


Portal VeinSepsis SeverityDefense ResponseMultiple Organ FailureImmune Defense


A bacterial translocation (BT) event has been strongly related to the pathogenesis of sepsis as well as to the sepsis progression to the state of multiple organ failure, and increasing scientific findings have pointed out the beneficial role of BT by building a gut immune defense repertoire. In a previous study, we have demonstrated that a previous BT challenge reduces significantly the translocation index at the second BT challenge with the same bacterial strain. Thereby, in this study we sought to evaluate the effect of previous BT challenge on experimentally induced sepsis, examining the bacterial clearance index from the systemic blood circulation, in order to evaluate its influence on the host's immunological defense response.


Adult female Wistar rats (200–250 g) were submitted to BT (5 ml Escherichia coli R-6 1010 CFU/ml/100 g body weight confined to the small intestine for 2 hours) and after 2 weeks were submitted to semi-lethal and lethal sepsis induction (inoculation of 109 or 1010 CFU/ml/100 g body weight E. coli R-6 into the portal vein, respectively), and serial hemocultures were monitored at 0, 15, 30, 60 and 120 min. The BT control group received saline only (n = 8/group). In the other group (n = 6), we evaluated the BT capacity of inducing anti-E. coli R6 O-antigen antibody production after 14 days.


Animals submitted to previous BT in combination with semi-lethal sepsis demonstrated a significantly faster bacterial clearance index when compared with animals that were not submitted to previous BT. Also, specific antibody against E. coli R6 was detected in 4/6 animals submitted to BT only 14 days before, suggesting that BT challenge can induce a specific immune response and play a protective role against further second bacterial challenge. However, when animals were submitted to a high concentration of bacteria (lethal sepsis, DL100), previous BT challenge could not play its beneficial role.


BT is able to build a host's specific immune response, although it is dependent on the sepsis severity.

Authors’ Affiliations

Paulista Medical School, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil


© BioMed Central Ltd 2005