Inhibition of Intestinal Thiamin Transport in Rat Model of Sepsis

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Thiamin deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with sepsis, but the mechanism by which sepsis induces thiamin deficiency is unknown. This study aimed to determine the influence of various severity of sepsis on carrier-mediated intestinal thiamin uptake, level of expressions of thiamin transporters (thiamin transporter-1 and thiamin transporter-2), and mitochondrial thiamin pyrophosphate transporter.


Randomized controlled study.


Research laboratory at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center.


Twenty-four Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized into controls, mild, moderate, and severe sepsis with equal number of animals in each group.


Sepsis was induced by cecal ligation and puncture with the cecum ligated below the cecal valve at 25%, 50%, and 75% of cecal length, defined as severe, moderate, and mild sepsis, respectively. Control animals underwent laparotomy only.

Measurements and Main Results:

After 2 days of induced sepsis, carrier-mediated intestinal thiamin uptake was measured using [3H]thiamin. Expressions of thiamin transporter-1, thiamin transporter-2, and mitochondrial thiamin pyrophosphate transporter proteins and messenger RNA were measured. Proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1β and interleukin-6) and adenosine triphosphate were also measured. Sepsis inhibited [3H]thiamin uptake, and the inhibition was a function of sepsis severity. Both cell membrane thiamin transporters and mitochondrial thiamin pyrophosphate transporter expression levels were suppressed; also levels of adenosine triphosphate in the intestine of animals with moderate and severe sepsis were significantly lower than that of sham-operated controls.


For the first time, we demonstrated that sepsis inhibited carrier-mediated intestinal thiamin uptake as a function of sepsis severity, suppressed thiamin transporters and mitochondrial thiamin pyrophosphate transporter, leading to adenosine triphosphate depletion.

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