Variability of bacterial translocation in the absence of intestinal mucosal damage following injury and the influence of interleukin-6

Hirobumi Gunji, Sylvia Scarth, Gordon L. Carlson, Geoffrey Warhurst, Rodney A. Little, Stephen J. Hopkins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Bacterial translocation and intestinal mucosal damage have been reported as potentially clinically important sequelae of injury. Evidence that endogenous interleukin-6 (IL-6) is able to protect against infection, and that orally administered IL-6 could prevent bacterial translocation and mucosal damage following haemorrhage, led us to evaluate the impact of injury on the intestinal mucosa and the role of endogenous IL-6. Normal and IL-6-deficient (IL-6-/-) mice were subjected to haemorrhage of increasing severity, hind limb ischaemia, or both. Mucosal integrity and bacterial translocation to the liver, spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) were examined after 16 h. Bacterial translocation to each of these tissues was observed in unoperated animals. The more severe haemorrhage procedures, and hind limb ischaemia, increased bacterial translocation to the liver significantly in most experiments with normal mice. The IL-6-/- mice survived the most severe haemorrhage procedure less well (p = 0.0015), although increased bacterial translocation was not seen. There was no clear evidence of mucosal damage, or bacterial translocation to spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes, in either normal or IL-6-/- mice. Intestinal IgA concentrations were the same in IL-6-/- mice and controls. These data demonstrate that increased bacterial translocation can be observed following severe injury, but that neither bacterial translocation nor severe injury are inevitably associated with morphological damage to the intestinal mucosa, and endogenous IL-6 is more likely to promote bacterial translocation than protect the gut. © 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)39-49
    Number of pages10
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2006


    • Bacteria
    • Gut
    • IL-6
    • Injury
    • Ischaemia


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