Relationship between extent of burn injury and magnitude of microbial translocation from the intestine

L. Gianotti, J. W. Alexander, T. Pyles, L. James, G. F. Babcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The gut can be a source of sepsis after thermal injury. In the present study the relationship between the extent of burn injury and magnitude of bacterial translocation was investigated. Mice underwent 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, or 50% total body surface area full-thickness burn and simultaneous gavage with 1 X 1010 14C-labeled Escherichia coli. Mesenteric lymph nodes, liver, spleen, peritoneal fluid, and burn wound were excised 4 hours after burn injury. Residual radioactivity and bacterial colony counts were measured, and percentages of viable organisms were calculated. Results showed that the rate of translocation of14C E. coli increased proportionally with the burn size, reaching a maximum at 30%. The cutaneous eschar collected a remarkable amount of labeled bacteria, suggesting enteric microflora as a possible source of contamination of the burn wound via endogenous routes. The percentage of viable organisms in the tissues demonstrated that the ability of mesenteric lymph nodes, liver, and eschar to clear translocated bacteria was directly affected by the severity of the burn injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-342
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • General Health Professions


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