Effect of endotoxemia on intestinal villus microcirculation in rats
Intestinal mucosal hypoperfusion with subsequent ischemia during endotoxemia might cause a breakdown of the gut barrier with translocation of bacteria and their toxins into the systemic circulation, thus maintaining a "gut-derived" septic state. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of endotoxin on the microcirculation of intestinal villi, which represent the most vulnerable part of the mucosa. The changes in blood flow and in the diameters of the central villus arterioles located in the distal ileum were monitored in control rats without lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure (n=7), and in rats receiving 1.5 mg/kg b.w. LPS (n=7) or 15 mg/kg b.w. LPS (n=7) over 60 min. The blood flow and the arteriolar diameters were determined using in vivo videomicroscopy at baseline, and 60 min and 120 min later. In control animals, no change in blood flow and arteriolar diameters were observed during the entire experiment. Administration of 1.5 mg/kg b.w. LPS reduced the blood flow to 69.5 +/- 9.0% of the baseline value at the end of the study period. This decrease in blood flow was associated with a decrease in the villus arteriolar diameters by 17.4 +/- 2.5% from the baseline values. In animals exposed to 15 mg/kg b.w. LPS, the decrease in villus blood flow at 60 min was 64.8 +/- 10.9% of baseline, and at 120 min 66.9 +/- 12.6% of baseline. The diameters of the villus arterioles were reduced by 11.5 +/- 2.4% and 15.1 +/- 1.7%, respectively. In the control group and in the 1.5-mg/kg LPS group, the mean arterial blood pressure did not change during the entire study period. In the 15-mg/kg LPS group, the mean arterial pressure tended to decrease after 60 min. These data suggest a reduction of villus blood flow due to vasoconstriction in the central villus arterioles during normotensive endotoxmia, which might represent the mechanism for the mucosal ischemia observed in critically ill patients.