Bombesin protects against bacterial translocation induced by three commercially available liquid enteral diets: A prospective, randomized, multigroup trial

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To test the hypothesis that certain commercially available liquid diets would cause bacterial translocation and that this diet-induced translocation could be reduced with bombesin (an intestinal hormone stimulant).


Prospective, multigroup trial in which animals fed each test diet were randomized to receive either bombesin or saline for 7 days. On day 7, the mice were killed and their organs were cultured for translocating bacteria, their cecal bacterial population concentrations were measured, and ileal and jejunal mucosal protein content was determined.


Small animal laboratory.


Outbred ICR mice weighing 25 to 35 g.


Mice received bombesin (10 μg/ kg) or saline subcutaneously three times daily for 7 days before sacrifice.

Measurements and Main Results:

The incidence of bacterial translocation to the mesenteric lymph node was significantly increased (p < .05) in mice fed Vivonex (53%), Criticare (67%), or Ensure (60%) compared with chow-fed controls (0%). All three liquid diets were associated with the development of cecal bacterial overgrowth and loss of jejunal and ileal mucosal protein content. Bombesin reduced the incidence of bacterial translocation and loss of mucosal protein content in all three liquid diet groups (p< .05), but did not prevent diet-induced cecal bacterial overgrowth.


Three different liquid diets induced bacterial translocation to the mesenteric lymph node. Since bombesin was effective in reducing bacterial translocation, it appears that bacterial translocation induced by these liquid diets can be modulated hormonally. (Crit Care Med 1994; 22:108-113)

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