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HPB Surgery
Volume 10 (1996), Issue 1, Pages 11-20

Influence of the Gut Microflora and of Biliary Constituents on Morphological Changes in the Small Intestine in Obstructive Jaundice

1Microstructural Studies Unit, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH, UK
2School of Biological Science, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH, UK
3Department of Surgery, Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XX, UK

Received 19 August 1993

Copyright © 1996 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Increased amounts of intestinal endotoxin are absorbed in obstructive jaundice. The precise mechanism is not known but the increased absorption may arise from alterations in the luminal contents, in the intestinal flora, in the gut wall or in interactions between all three. To examine the effects of the intestinal flora we have compared the morphological changes in the small intestine in obstructive jaundice in germ free and conventional rats while the effects of bile constituents have been examined by addition of bile constituents to the diet of bile duct ligated rats. Changes in the intestine were examined, histologically, by enzyme histochemistry, and by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The results showed no differences in response between germ free and conventional rats. Feeding of diets containing bile salts exacerbated the lesion. Feeding of diets containing cholesterol, however, reduced the degree of intestinal changes produced by cholestasis and completely antagonised the increase in damage caused by feeding of bile salts.