• Burn wound sepsis in rats results in sustained corticosterone elevations and the prolonged presence of translocated bacteria in the mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs). To determine if survival of bacteria in the MLNs may be influenced by pathophysiologic corticosterone levels, MLNs were quantitatively analyzed from rats randomized to the following groups: burn wound sepsis (BI); BI with adrenocortical response attenuated by cyclosporine (cyclosporine/BI); or cyclosporine/BI with corticosterone replacement (cyclosporine/BI + P). Although rates of bacterial translocation were similar, corticosterone levels were significantly different among the three groups and correlated with the number of lymphocytes and the number of enteric bacteria present per gram of MLN. Thus, pathophysiologic elevations of corticosterone levels during sepsis may exert an effect that allows survival of translocated bacteria in the MLNs of rats, perhaps due to glucocorticoid-associated alterations in regional immunity.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:50-55)