To determine the influence of pretreatment with selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) on systemic immunosuppression, and the relationship between bacteria/endotoxin translocation and abnormalities of immune function in thermally injured rats.
Design, Materials, and Methods
Animals were subjected to a 40% full-thickness scald injury, and divided into SDD-treated and control groups. The treatment group received SDD (polymyxin E, tobramycin, and 5-flucytosine) by gavage twice daily for 3 days before the experiment and continued for 5 days after thermal injury. The control group was given the same amount of water. The parameters reflecting cell-mediated immunity, including splenocyte proliferation in response to mitogens, interleukin 2 (IL-2) production, and lymphocyte subpopulation, were measured before injury and 1 and 5 days after burn, respectively.
Measurements and Main Results
Thermal injury resulted in marked reduction in splenocyte proliferative response to T-cell mitogens, IL-2 production, and T-helper/suppressor cells (CD4/CD8) ratio. Prophylactic treatment with SDD significantly decreased the incidences of bacterial translocation and endotoxemia, prevented suppressive mitogenic response and inadequate IL-2 production (p < 0.05-0.01) but did not affect the abnormal ratio of CD4 to CD8 T lymphocytes in blood (p > 0.05).
These results suggest that bacteria/endotoxin translocation from the gut appears to be involved in cell-mediated immune dysfunction as a consequence of thermal injury. Pretreatment with SDD might attenuate postburn immunosuppression by preventing translocation events.