Increased bacterial permeation in long-lasting ileoanal pouches

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Background and Aims:

Bacterial overgrowth appears to play an important role in the pathogenesis of ileoanal pouches. Therefore, the capability of bacterial permeation and its determinants is of great interest. The aim of this study was to examine bacterial permeation in the ileoanal pouch and to correlate the results with the degree of inflammation, the epithelial resistance, the mucosal transport function, and the age of the ileoanal pouches.

Materials and Methods:

Biopsies were taken from 54 patients before colectomy (n = 13; preileal pouch-anal anastomosis [IPAA]), and closure of ileostomy (n = 7; deviation), <1 year after closure of ileostomy (n = 8; intact pouch I), >1 year after closure of ileostomy (n = 16; intact pouch II), in the case of pouchitis (n = 11), and in 11 controls. Tissues were mounted in a miniaturized Ussing chamber. Escherichia coli was added to the mucosal side of the Ussing chamber, and the permeation was proven by serosal presence of E. coli. Epithelial and subepithelial resistance was determined by transmural impedance analysis. Active Na+-glucose cotransport and active Cl− secretion were measured. Specimens were analyzed by fluorescent in situ hybridization with oligonucleotide probes targeting the bacterial 16s ribosomal RNA. The bacteria in and on the tissue were enumerated.


Bacterial permeation occurred in 2 of 13 pre-IPAA, 2 of 7 deviations, 0 of 8 intact pouch I, 9 of 16 intact pouch II, 5 of 11 pouchitis specimens, and 0 of 11 ileum controls. The frequency of bacterial permeation in the intact pouch II group is higher than in the intact pouch I group (P < 0.001). Epithelial resistance, mannitol fluxes, electrogenic chloride secretion, sodium-glucose cotransport of the bacterially permeated specimens versus nonpermeated of the intact pouch II group, and the pouchitis group and subepithelial resistance remained unchanged. Intramural bacteria could be detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization mainly in long-lasting pouches, but there was no correlation with bacterial permeation.


The long-lasting ileoanal pouch is associated with increased bacterial permeability. This is not correlated with a disturbed function of the pouch mucosa but could be a precursor of pouchitis.

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