• Bacteria have been documented to translocate from the gut to systemic organs, yet the exact route by which they translocate remains unclear. To determine the route of bacterial translocation, different dosages of zymosan were used to activate complement and cause systemic inflammation. At a zymosan dose of 0.1 mg/g, bacteria translocated only to the mesenteric lymph node complex, whereas at a dose of 0.5 mg/g the bacteria translocated systematically. In rats receiving 0.5-mg/g doses of zymosan, the bacteria appeared to reach systemic organs via the portal blood rather than via the mesenteric lymph, as bacteria were present in 87% of portal blood samples but only 25% of lymph samples. The number of bacteria exiting the portal vein was 11 500 times greater than the number exiting via the lymph. Thus, both the route and extent of bacterial translocation varies based on the magnitude of the inflammatory insult, with the portal blood being the major route of bacterial translocation to systemic organs.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:33-37)