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Extrahepatic biliary obstruction is associated with the failure of intestinal barrier function, allowing bacteria and other substances from the intestine to enter the circulation and initiate a systemic inflammatory response, causing impairment of organ function. Probiotic bacteria have been shown to have beneficial effects on intestinal barrier function in other conditions, but their effects have never been studied in biliary obstruction.This study examined the effects of enteral administration of Lactobacillus plantarum species 299 (LP299) in oatmeal fibre compared with sterile oatmeal fibre in water or water alone in an animal model of biliary obstruction. Administration of LP299 was associated with reduced intestinal permeability compared with sterile oatmeal alone (0·262 ± 0·105%vs 0·537 ± 0·037%, P = 0·019, percentage excretion of 14Carbon), but there was no evidence of reduced endotoxin exposure or blunting of the systemic inflammatory response. Animals receiving sterile oatmeal fibre alone also failed to develop the hyperpermeability after biliary obstruction seen in animals receiving water only (0·512 ± 0·05%vs 0·788 ± 0·18%), suggesting that oatmeal itself may have some beneficial effects on intestinal barrier function.Enteral administration of the probiotic bacterium LP299 reduces intestinal hyperpermeability associated with experimental biliary obstruction.This study provides insight to direct further work into the modulation of intestinal barrier function by probiotic bacteria.