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Disturbances of intestinal microcirculation associated with sepsis and septic shock result in diminished mucosal oxygenation. Tissue hypoxia as well as mediator formation may lead to intestinal mucosa dysfunction. As a consequence, bacteria and their products as well as gut-derived inflammatory mediators may further perpetuate septic and inflammatory events. Adrenomedullin is produced in the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract and has been shown to improve survival in experimental sepsis. Using pore-forming Staphylococcus aureus α-toxin as a potent initiator of inflammatory reactions, we tested the hypothesis that exogenously added adrenomedullin improves ileal mucosal perfusion.Prospective, experimental study.University laboratory.Isolated perfused ileum from male Sprague-Dawley ratsAdrenomedullin treatment of S. aureus α-toxin infused ileum.An infusion of α-toxin (0.05 μg/mL) induced a significant decrease of red blood cell velocity in villus terminal arterioles from 1.7 to 0.7 mm/sec assessed by intravital microscopy. This was accompanied by a significant reduction of mucosal hemoglobin oxygenation from 71.8% to 17.5% and impaired oxygen uptake. At constant bulk flow and oxygen delivery, these data indicate a redistribution of blood perfusion away from mucosa. Subsequent intervention with 0.1 μM adrenomedullin redistributed blood flow back toward the mucosa, causing an improvement of mucosal hemoglobin oxygenation and of organ oxygen uptake.These data suggest that exogenously added adrenomedullin protects ileum mucosa by diminishing α-toxin-induced microcirculatory disturbances. Further investigations will have to clarify the therapeutic potential of adrenomedullin in sepsis-related gut dysfunction.