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Effects of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition on Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue

Li, Jian MD; Kudsk, Kenneth A. MD; Gocinski, Barbara PhD; Dent, Daniel MD; Glezer, Jeffrey MD; Langkamp-Henken, Bobbi PhD

The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care: July 1995 - Volume 39 - Issue 1 - p 44-52
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Changes in mucosal defense have been implicated as important factors affecting infectious complications in critically ill patients. To study the effects of nutrient administration on gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT), ICR mice were randomized to receive chow plus intravenous saline, intravenous feeding of a total parenteral nutrition (TPN) solution, or enteral feeding of the same TPN solution. In a second series of experiments, a more complex enteral diet (Nutren) was compared with chow feeding and enteral TPN. After 5 days of feeding with experimental diets, lymphocytes were harvested from the mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs), Peyer's patches (PPs), lamina propria (LP) cells, and intraepithelial (IE) spaces of the small intestine to determine cell yields and phenotypes. Small intestinal washings, gallblader contents, and sera were collected and analyzed for immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels. In both series of experiments, there were no significant changes within the MLNs. There were significant decreases in total cell yields from the PPs, IE spaces, and LP in animals fed with TPN solution, either enterally or parenterally, as compared with chow-fed mice. Total T cells were decreased in both TPN-fed groups in the PPs and LP, whereas total B cells were decreased in the PP, IE, and LP populations. Total cell numbers remained normal in the Nutrenfed group, except for a decrease in LP T cells. CD4sup + LP cells decreased significantly with a reduction in the CD4/CD8 ratio in mice fed TPN solution either intravenously or enterally, whereas IgA recovery from small intestinal washings was significantly decreased in the same groups. These data demonstrate that TPN solution feeding in mice, either intravenously or as an elemental enteral diet, alters GALT populations, resulting in atrophy in LP, IE, and PP T-cell and B-cell populations and decreased intestinal IgA levels. A more complex enteral diet is not associated with most of these significant changes.

From the Department of Surgery, University of Tennessee-Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee.

Presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, San Diego, California, September 29-October 1, 1994.

Address for reprints: Kenneth A. Kudsk, M.D., Department of Surgery, University of Tennessee-Memphis, 956 Court Avenue, Room E-228, Memphis, TN 38163.

The gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT), as an independent immune organ, not only provides indispensable immunologic protection against resident microbial flora and infectious pathogens, but also provides significant immunologic protection for distant mucosal sites, such as the nasopharynx, breast, salivary glands, and lung. [1] Morphologically, the GALT consists of both affector and effector limbs. [2] The affector components consist of organized lymphoid follicles [i.e., Peyer's patches (PPs), mesenteric lymphnodes (MLNs), tonsils, and the appendix] acting as antigen detectors and processors. Lamina propria (LP) T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes compose the nonaggregated lymphoid tissue acting as the effector cells that control and produce immunoglobulin A (IgA). Very little is known about intra-epithelial (IE) lymphocyte function, although they also may have a controlling function in the effector limb.

Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and enteral elemental diets negatively influence gut barrier function and are associated with increases in intestinal bacterial overgrowth, bacterial translocation to MLN, [3-6] and increases in mucosal permeability. [7,8] These changes have been shown in conjunction with decreased secretory IgA levels, [9] suggesting that the GALT plays an important role in the pathogenesis of diet-associated immune depression. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of TPN, an elemental enteral diet, or complex enteral diet, on GALT in mice. Lamina propria, PPs, MLNs, and IE lymphocyte populations were examined to determine phenotypic alterations induced by any of the aforementioned dietary changes; these changes were then correlated with mucosal IgA levels.

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MATERIALS AND METHODS

Animals

The studies reported herein conform to the guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals established by the Animal Use and Care Committee of The University of Tennessee, and protocols were approved by that committee. Male ICR mice were fed commercial mouse food with water ad libitum and quarantined for 2 weeks before operation. Temperature, humidity, and light conditions were automatically controlled. Only those mice whose weight stabilized were used in the study. During the experiments, the mice were housed in metal metabolism cages with wire-grid bottoms to eliminate coprophagia and the ingestion of bedding.

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Experimental Design and Formulas

To determine the effects of TPN, administered either enterally as an elemental diet or intravenously, on GALT cell populations, mice in the first experiment underwent placement of catheters for intravenous or intragastric infusion. After randomization, mice were anesthetized by intraperitoneal injection of ketamine (100 mg/kg/body weight) and acepromazine maleate (10 mg/kg/body weight) mixture. A silicone rubber catheter (0.012 i.d. X 0.025 o.d.; Baxter, Chicago, III.) was inserted into the vena cava through the right jugular vein or into the stomach via gastrostomy. The distal end of the catheter was tunneled subcutaneously and exited the tail at its midpoint. Mice were partially immobilized by tail restraint to protect the catheter during infusion. This technique of infusion in the mouse has proven to be an acceptable method of nutrition support and does not produce physical or biochemical evidence of stress. [10] Catheterized mice were immediately connected to an infusion apparatus and saline-infused at an initial rate of 4 mL/day. For the first 2 days, animals were allowed ad libitum access to chow (RMH 3200, Agway, Syracuse, N.Y.) and then were randomized to the various experimental diets. The Chow group (n = 8) served as the control group and received intravenous cannulation plus an infusion of physiologic saline in addition to standard laboratory mouse diet and water ad libitum. The Intravenous (IV)-TPN group (n = 7) received a standard TPN solution (prepared in the hospital pharmacy) intravenously (Table 1). The TPN solution contained 4.1% amino acids and 34.3% glucose (1538 kcal/L) in addition to electrolytes and vitamins. The nonprotein calorie/nitrogen ratio of the TPN solution was 158:1 kcal/g nitrogen. The Intragastric (IG)-TPN group (n = 8) received identical TPN solution enterally through a gastrostomy as a model of an enteral elemental diet. Sham operations on the abdomen or neck were performed in intravenous and intragastric animals, respectively.

Table 1

Table 1

To determine the effects of enteral administration of a complete enteral diet on GALT cell populations in the second experiment, randomized mice underwent placement of a gastrostomy. The Chow group (n = 6) and IG-TPN group (n = 6) received the same nutrients as described. The complete diet group (n = 6) received an infusion of the enteral diet Nutren (Clintec, Chicago, III.). This diet contained 12.7% carbohydrate, 3.8% fat, and 4% protein (1000 kcal/L) in addition to electrolytes and vitamins (Table 2). The nonprotein calorie/nitrogen ratio of Nutren was 156:1 kcal/g N. All animals were given ad libitum access to standard mouse chow for the first 2 days after surgery, after which the experimental diets were started.

Table 2

Table 2

During postoperative chow feeding, the infusion rates of saline via the respective catheters were increased over a 48-hour period to either 10 mL/day (Chow, IV-TPN, and IG-TPN groups) or 15 mL/day (Nutren), and were continued at those rates for the 5 days of experimental diet feeding. These feedings provided approximately 15 kcal energy and 95 mg N, meeting the calculated requirements for mice weighing 25 to 30 g. [11] After 7 days of feeding (2 days of chow during postsurgical recovery and 5 days of experimental diets), the animals were weighed and anesthetized with the ketamine/acepromazine maleate mixture. The thoracic and abdominal cavities were opened aseptically, and the animals were exsanguinated by cardiac puncture. Plasma was isolated from these blood samples for IgA analysis.

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Cell Isolations

PPs

The MLNs were removed, gently minced, and passed through a nylon filter Falcon (Becton-Dickinson Labware, Franklin Lakes, N.J.) to create single-cell suspensions. Lymphocyte isolations from the PPs were performed as described by Deitch et al. [12] Briefly, the PPs were excised from the serosal side of the intestine and teased apart with 18-gauge needles. Fragments were treated with type I collagenase (Sigma, St. Louis, Mo.) (50 U/mL) in Minimal Essential Medium for 60 minutes at 37 degrees C with constant rocking. After collagenase digestion, cell suspensions were passed through nylon filters.

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IE and LP cells

Lamina propria and IE lymphocytes were isolated as follows. First, the small intestine was removed, flushed with Hanks' Balanced Salt Solution (HBSS) to remove intestinal contents, measured, and weighed. The contents were collected for analysis of mucosal IgA. After excision of the PPs, the intestine was opened lengthwise and cut into 5 mm pieces. The pieces were incubated three times, 30 minutes each time, with prewarmed (37 degrees C) calcium and magnesium-free HBSS containing 5 mM ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) (Sigma) in a flask on a magnetic stirrer at 20 rpm at 37 degrees C. Supernatants containing released sloughed epithelial cells and IE lymphocytes from each incubation period were pooled and stored on ice for further purification later.

To block remaining EDTA activity, the remaining tissue pieces were incubated for 30 minutes at 37 degrees C with RPMI 1640 (Gibco Laboratory, Gaithersburg, Md.) containing 5% heat-inactivated fetal bovine serum (FBS). The RPMI/5% FBS was decanted and 30 ml RPMI containing 40 U/mL collagenase (type I: 30 U/mL; type III: 10 U/mL), and 5% inactivated FBS was added to the flask that was then incubated on a magnetic stirrer (100 rpm) at 37 degrees C. Released cells were decanted from the tissue fragments. Fresh enzyme-containing media was added, and the process was repeated twice, 30 minutes each time, for a total time of 90 minutes. After the third extraction, pooled cells were gently mixed and placed on ice for 10 to 15 minutes to let larger debris sediment.

Supernatants containing lymphocytes, debris, and dead cells were filtered through a glass wool column. Suspensions were centrifuged, the pellets resuspended in 40% Percoll (Pharmacia, Piscataway, N.J.), and the cell suspensions overlaid on 70% Percoll. After centrifugation for 20 minutes at 600g at 4 degrees C, viable lymphocytes were recovered from the 40/70% interface and washed twice in RPMI 1640. The cell number was counted, and viability of lymphocytes was determined by trypan blue exclusion.

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Flow Cytometry

To determine the phenotypes of the lymphocytes isolated from the MLNs, PPs, LP, and IE lymphocytes, 10sup 5 cells were suspended in 50 microL HBSS containing either fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) anti-CD3 (clone 145-2C11; Pharmigen, San Diego, Calif.) or phycoerythrin (PE)-conjugated goat anti-mouse immunoglobulin (Southern Biotechnology Associates, Birmingham, Ala.) to identify T cells and B cells, respectively, or in FITC-anti-CD4 (clone RM4-5) and PE-anti-CD8 (clones 53 to 67; Pharmigen) to identify the two T-cell subsets. All antibodies were diluted to 2.5 microg/mL in HBSS containing 1% bovine serum albumin (BSA) and 0.1% azide; incubations were for 30 minutes on ice. Following staining, the cells were washed twice in HBSS/1% BSA and were fixed in 1% paraformaldehyde (Sigma). Flow cytometry analysis was performed on a profile I (Coulter Co., Hileah, III.).

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IgA Quantization

Immunoglobulin A was measured in intestinal washings, gallbladder bile, and serum samples in a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, using a polyclonal goat anti-mouse IgA (Sigma) to coat the plate, a purified mouse IgA (Sigma) as standard, and a horseradish peroxidase-conjugated goat anti-mouse IgA. The intestinal washing IgA was normalized for the length of the respective intestinal segment (IgA/cm intestine).

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Statistical Analysis

All data are expressed as the mean +/- SE. Statistical analysis was conducted by analysis of variance and Scheffe's multiple comparison and simple linear regression procedure, using Statview (Brain Power, Inc., Calabasas, Calif.) software. A p value of 0.05 or less was considered significant.

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RESULTS

Body Weight and Small Intestinal Length

The pre-experiment weights of all groups were similar, and, in the first experiment, the weight gains of the three groups were similar (Table 3). In the second experiment, however, the weight gain of the Chow group was significantly greater than the other two groups, whereas IG-TPN and Nutren groups showed similar values (Table 3). There were no differences in intestine length and weight among the groups (Table 4).

Table 3

Table 3

Table 4

Table 4

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IgA Levels

Serum IgA concentration, gallbladder IgA, and the IgA recovery from the intestinal contents among the study groups are summarized in Table 5. Animals fed the standard TPN solution, enterally or parenterally, had a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in intestinal IgA compared with controls, but the gallbladder bile concentrations of IgA were similar among the groups. The serum IgA concentration decreased in IG-TPN and IV-TPN groups compared with the Chow group, but these changes were not statistically significant. In experiment 2, there were no significant differences in total intestinal IgA between the mice fed Nutren and control animals, but serum and intestinal IgA were significantly lower in IG-TPN animals compared with chow feeding.

Table 5

Table 5

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Total Cell Yields

Total cell yields were determined in affector (MLNs and PPs) and effector sites (IE lymphocytes and LP lymphocytes). There were no significant changes in MLN lymphocyte yield among the groups (Table 6). The PP, IE, and LP yields decreased significantly in IV-TPN and IG-TPN groups, compared with the Chow group, whereas the yields from IG-TPN mice were lower than Nutren-fed in the PP and LP groups.

Table 6

Table 6

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T-Cell and B-Cell Yields

Under all dietary regimens, T cells outnumbered B cells in all compartments except the PPs (Table 7 and Table 8).

Table 7

Table 7

Table 8

Table 8

Within the PPs, the number of T cells dropped in the TPN groups, compared with chow-fed (experiment 1) and Nutrenfed (experiment 2) animals. B cells dropped in TPN-fed animals in both experiments, but reached statistical significance only in the first experiment.

Within the IE lymphocytes, there was a significant increase in the percentage of T cells compared with B cells in the IG-TPN and the IV-TPN groups (Table 7), but there were no significant differences in the absolute number of T cells (Table 8). This shift toward T cells was caused by a significant decrease in B cells with IG-TPN and IV-TPN in both experiments.

Within the LP, both B cells and T cells dropped significantly in the IG-TPN and the IV-TPN groups, compared with the Chow group without shifts in the B-cell/T-cell percentages. The Nutren group also had a significant drop in T-cell, but not B-cell, values.

There were no significant changes in MLN cell populations (data not shown).

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T-Cell Subsets

There were no significant changes in MLN T-cell subsets in any group (data not shown), and the percentage of CD4sup + and CD8sup + cells in total cells obtained from the GALT were constant in all groups. The only exception was a significant increase in the percentage of LP CD8sup + cells in TPN animals, compared with the Chow group in experiment 1 and a drop in Nutren animals (Table 9) in experiment 2.

Table 9

Table 9

There were changes in the absolute number of CD4sup + and CD8sup + cells, however (Table 10). Within the PPs, CD4sup + cells dropped in both TPN groups in experiment 1, but reached significance only in IV-TPN mice while dropping significantly in IG-TPN mice (experiment 2), compared with Chow or Nutren animals. Within the IE lymphocytes, both CD4sup + and CD8sup + cells dropped with IV-TPN feeding, compared with chow (experiment 1) and with IG-TPN compared with Chow and Nutren animals (experiment 2). CD8sup + cells in the IE lymphocyte dropped in both TPN-fed groups, compared with the Chow group (experiment 1). Within the LP, CD4sup + cells dropped with IG-TPN (experiments 1 and 2), IV-TPN (experiment 1), and Nutren (experiment 2) animals, compared with chow, whereas CD8sup + cells decreased significantly in IG-TPN and Nutren groups, compared with the Chow group (experiment 2).

Table 10

Table 10

Overall, the CD4sup + /CD8sup + ratio (Table 11) remained constant in all areas except the LP, where IG-TPN and IV-TPN decreased significantly, compared with chow in experiment 1, and IG-TPN dropped significantly from both chow-fed and Nutren-fed animals in experiment 2.

Table 11

Table 11

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DISCUSSION

There is substantial clinical [13-15] and experimental [16,17] evidence implicating route of nutrient administration as an important factor in reducing septic morbidity following injury, drawing attention to the gut as an important organ in host defense. To explain the benefits of enteral nutrition, a breakdown of the gastrointestinal barrier during parenteral nutrition is hypothesized as a source of inflammatory molecules and bacteria gaining entry into the body that may influence the development of multiple organ failure, sepsis, and the sepsis syndrome. Investigators have focused on several aspects of gut-barrier function, including integrity of the mucosa, [7,18] changes in intestinal permeability, [7] changes in intestinal bacterial flora, and the translocation of bacteria to MLNs, and the interrelationships of these factors. [3-6,12] Most studies of GALT function have focused on concentrations of IgA recovered from the intestinal or biliary tract and, with few exceptions, have ignored the GALT cell population changes. [9,19,20] The current study demonstrates that TPN solution administered intravenously or enterally results in significant atrophy of the GALT throughout the LP, PPs, and IE spaces with a decrease in the CD4/CD8 ratio in the LP. Our results show a correlation between this generalized atrophy and decreased levels of intestinal intraluminal IgA. These changes can be minimized or eliminated when a complex enteral formula is administered enterally, but the atrophy and decreased GALT function are not reduced when an elemental formula is administered via the gastrointestinal tract.

The GALT can be divided into two separate but interconnected components: the affector site (PPs and MLNs) initiates contact between native B cells and T cells, and intraluminal antigen that has been taken up by M cells and processed by antigen-presenting cells. The effector limb consists of the LP T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes, and IE lymphocytes located between the mucosal epithelial cells. [2] Antigen uptake into the GALT results in stimulation of B cells and T cells that leave the affector site via efferent lymphatics and home to the effector sites of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as the upper respiratory tract, reproductive tract, and exocrine glandular tissues throughout the mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue system. [1] The LP within the gut is the major mucosal effector site and is enriched with IgA-positive plasma cells that are covered by epithelial cells producing the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor to transport polymeric IgA to be released at the epithelial apical surfaces into the intestinal lumen. [21-23] Approximately 80% of the plasma cells in the small intestine produce antibodies of the IgA isotype. [22] With continued antigenic stimulation, IgA production produces an immunologic barrier to the specific antigens on bacteria and bacteria products, food antigens, and so on.

IgA plays an important role in intestinal immune defenses, because it prevents the adherence of bacteria to mucosal epithelial cells, an event considered to be crucial in initiating mucosal invasion and infection. [24] Experimentally, IgA deficiency results in adherence of intraluminal bacteria to epithelial cells, with subsequent translocation. Previous investigators have characterized relationships between the route and type of nutrition, biliary or intestinal IgA levels, bacterial overgrowth, and bacterial translocation to mesenteric lymph nodes. [3-6,9,20] IV-TPN depresses biliary IgA, increases gramnegative and aerobic bacterial concentrations in the cecum, and increases bacterial translocation. Bacterial translocation is somewhat reduced when TPN solution is given enterally, showing an effect of route of nutrient delivery when compared with intravenous administration of the same solution, but reduced even more when the elemental diet is supplemented with fiber, illustrating the impact of type of nutrient administration on host defense. [4] Amounts of IgA necessary for adequate host defense may vary depending on conditions and the observation by Spaeth et al. [20] that increases in gramnegative enteric bacterial and total aerobes in intravenous-fed animals resulted in bacterial translocation with no change in IgA. This suggests an IV-TPN-induced depression, because intestinal IgA normally increases in response to increases in bacterial concentrations.

The consistent relationship between decreased T-cell and B-cell yield and decreased IgA recovery in our study suggests an interdependency and potentially immunosuppressive effect of intravenous or elemental enteral feeding. The cell phenotype distribution in control animals is consistent with other published work, [25-29] and our data implicate the decrease in GALT cellularity and changes in cell phenotype as important factors in decreased intestinal, but not biliary, IgA levels in mice. Cellularity changes were noted in almost all GALT compartments. B cells and T cells were significantly reduced in PPs, which serve as the precursor source of T cells and B cells destined to repopulate the LP for control and production of IgA synthesis. After 5 days of feeding, there was a 55 to 66% reduction in LP B cells with enteral or parenteral feeding of TPN, compared with chow and a 40% reduction in the number of T cells. The reduced B-cell and T-cell numbers paralleled the 45 to 49% decrease in total intestinal IgA and confirm previous observations of a decrease in IgA-positive cells and generalized atrophy within ileal LP associated with intravenous feeding, using immunohistochemical techniques. [9,19] The difference between intestinal and gallbladder values in our study is not surprising, because the source of intestinal IgA in mice (and humans) is primarily across the epithelium through synthesis locally within the LP, [23,29,30] potentially explaining normal gallbladder (and presumably biliary) IgA levels that normally drop with TPN in rats who obtain most intestinal IgA from biliary origin.

The decreases in intestinal IgA also correlated with a shift toward CD8sup + cells. Antigenic challenge elicits B-cell development and IgA-dominated response through an elaborate and highly regulated process that is involved with regulation of the mucosal immune system. Affector and effector sites contain distinct T-cell subsets that possess unique biologic characteristics for the induction and regulation of IgA immune responses. In our study, approximately 40% of the LP lymphocytes in control animals were CD3sup + cells, with the majority being CD4sup + /CD8sup + and the CD4:CD8 ratio approximated 1.7/1. These values were preserved in animals fed complex enteral diets, but the CD4:CD8 ratio dropped in the IG-TPN-fed and IV-TPN-fed animals, primarily because of drops in the CD4sup + cells. Potentially, a shift in balance of cytokine production by these cells could occur. Normally, CD4sup + cells can be divided into two classes, Th1 and Th2, on the basis of cytokine secreted. [31] Characteristically, Th1 cells secrete interleukin (IL)-2, interferon-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor-beta (lymphotoxin), whereas Th2 cells secrete IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, and IL-10. Although functionally both of these CD4sup + cell types stimulate B cells to proliferate, undergo colony expansion, and secrete immunoglobulin when exerting positive effects on IgA secretion, [32] Th2 cells are generally considered more effective in stimulating IgA production. Whether there is a shift from Th2 to Th1 cells is unknown, but there clearly is a decrease in CD4sup + cells that could exert negative effects on an already decreasing mass of B cells in the LP.

Causes for the reduction in the total lymphocyte pool in the LP were not investigated in the current experiments. However, we do not feel that this reduction is caused by TPN-induced generalized intestinal atrophy, because parenteral feeding does not produce villus atrophy in the mouse model. [33] Reduction in the number of recirculating lymphocytes from PPs through MLNs to the LP or changes in homing are possibilities, because decreases in lymphocyte content in PPs correlated well with decreases in the LP. Although the origin and fate of IE lymphocytes are not fully understood, there is the possibility that these lymphocytes (which are primarily CD8sup + ) could regulate IgA-producing cells in the LP, exerting inhibitory effects as suggested by some investigators. [34] Most of the changes could be avoided by the use of a complex, nonfiber-containing diet. Perhaps this diet stimulated increased levels of hormones or neuropeptides that are postulated to be important in GALT function. [35-37] Recently, neurotensin receptors were found on peripheral lymphocytes, suggesting the role of this neuropeptide on the GALT. [38] Others have shown effects of gastrin, cholecystokinin, and bombesin on preservation of intestinal mucosa, bacterial translocation, or intestinal IgA levels. [36,39]

The current study provides insight into the importance of route of nutrient administration on immunologic defenses in critically ill and critically injured patients. Preservation of the GALT with enteral feeding may result in immunologic integrity of the mucosal-associated lymphatic tissue and increased resistance to infection. The ability to manipulate mucosal defenses via this model may allow the development of therapies that can preserve immunologic function in patients unable to be fed via the gastrointestinal tract.

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Acknowledgment

We thank Doris Parsons for her invaluable help in preparing this manuscript.

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PAPER DISCUSSION

(Dr. Ed Deitch's remarks were read by Dr. Livingston.)

Dr. David H. Livingston (Newark, New Jersey): Dr. Deitch called me last night, indicating he could not come to the meeting and sends his regrets for not being able to discuss this very nice study. He sent me his comments which I will relay.

This is a very nice and technically very sound study with very good methodology. It shows that total parenteral nutrition solution administered intravenously or enterally clearly alters intestinal immune system or the gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT), as it was termed, in a number of ways. Because the study has really no technical problems, we wish to focus the discussion on the interpretation of the work rather than the methodology.

The basic implication of this work is that impaired function of GALT, in one way or another, is important in nutritionally induced gut barrier failure and subsequently infection. How accurate is this assumption?

Individuals from his own laboratory and others have demonstrated that parenteral alimentation, as well enteral alimentation, have clearly promoted bacterial translocation experimentally. We also know that these diets cause a number of morphologic and functional changes in the intestine itself, as well in the GALT. And, thus, you have clearly shown that changes in the GALT do occur.

Do you have any direct evidence to show that these changes in intestinal immunity, rather than some other unmeasured nutritionally induced changes in function, are causally related to gut origin sepsis?

Data from Dr. Deitch's laboratory would suggest that diet induced bacteria translocation is caused more by the effects of diet than the immune system. In fact, they have observed diet-induced decreases in intestinal secretory IGA. However, therapeutic maneuvers that successfully restore intestinal antibacterial barrier function have not been associated with improvements in immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels to normal. Could you comment on this?

Next, the clearest and perhaps most important conclusion to be drawn from this data, as well as a preponderance of other data studied in this area of nutrition, is that nothing is better for rats than rat chow. Therefore, by implication, nothing is better for humans than human chow. Why is this? Is it because now chow contains some magical compounds that diets we test and give our patients are deficient in some essential ingredient?

Our studies have shown that the magical compound in rat chow that may be missing in our human diets is not from animal fiber. In fact, recent studies from our laboratory indicate that fiber is protective against, translocation through the mediation of induction of trophic hormones and that intestinal barrier function can be modulated hormonally.

I would be interested in knowing your thoughts about why rat chow is so good.

Lastly, we were not able to determine from the paper exactly how you processed the IgA levels. Secretory IgA can bind to bacteria. How do you know that the low levels of IgA observed are not caused by bacterial binding?

In conclusion, we wish to congratulate the authors on a very excellent, elegant study that provides us with new and important information.

Dr. Fredrick A. Moore (Denver, Colorado): The gastro-intestinal tract is now recognized to be an important immunologic organ both locally and systemically. You have shown that feeding a total parenteral nutrition (TPN) solution intravenously or via the gut impairs the local gut immunity. Do you plan to measure systemic immune responses? Next, many basic laboratory models comparing enteral to parenteral nutrition use TPN solutions as the study diet. They then equate TPN solutions to the enteral elemental diets use clinically. This is not a fair comparison. For example, TPN solutions have a very high osmolality, which is most likely quite toxic to the gut mucosa when fed enterally. Could you comment on this issue?

Dr. Kenneth A. Kudsk (closing): I would like to thank both Dr. Livingston and Dr. Moore for their comments.

Is there any direct evidence of impaired immunity related to the gut origin sepsis? Well, I think the gut origin sepsis theory is still extremely controversial. We did not look at bacterial translocation, or any translocation of bacterial products across the mucosa in this particular animal model, because we were checking the mesenteric lymph nodes for cell population changes that might occur.

I think that from data that we have, as well as data that has been obtained from burn patients by Dr. Deitch and Drs. Ziegler and Wilmore, there certainly is an increase in permeability in the intestine that occurs following burns. In a study from our institution, within 72 hours of injury, there is a great increase in intestinal permeability to lactulose and mannitol. It is very conceivable that there are products other than the bacteria that could cross the mucosa having downstream effects.

In fact, we have seen a relationship between interleukin-6 secretion from the gastrointestinal tract, a proinflammatory molecular that affects acute phase protein production by the liver, and an increase in gut permeability.

I did not quite understand the second question about immunoglobulin A (IgA), so I will have to pass on that.

Is rat chow best and what are the factors that make it best? Well, I think there is a number of things. Part of it is composition; things like polyamines and other microsubstances are found in general nutrition, but are not going to be found in these chemically defined diets.

But there is another important effect and that is hormonal stimulation. When these animals eat chow, they have intermittent boluses of hormonal stimulation to the gastrointestinal tract. We have just completed a study using a neuropeptide in which the animals are fed the elemental diet both with and without this hormonal neuropeptide. We have partially, if not completely, reversed the atrophy that we noted in this particular study.

Could our decreased IgA levels be secondary to bacteria? We did not measure bacteria levels in the gastrointestinal tract in the initial experiment. We did start doing that in the second experiment. We did not find bacterial overgrowth. So, I doubt that lower IgA levels are secondary to bacterial overgrowth and increased IgA binding.

And, finally, Dr. Moore asked about the systemic versus local immunity. You have to realize that 50% of the immune system of the body is located along the gastrointestinal tract. Eighty percent of the humoral antibody that the body makes goes across the gastrointestinal tract to act as a barrier. This intestinal immunity has largely been ignored in previous studies. Investigators looked at IgA and at bacterial translocation. But everybody has pretty much ignored this area.

You have to consider the gut, the epithelial immune system as a systemic, total mucosal immune system as a systemic, total mucosal immune system. Within the mouse, it has been very well worked out. When you give a challenge to the gastrointestinal tract, shortly thereafter, within 10 to 14 days, specific IgA against that antigen is found in the nasopharynx, within the lungs.

We need to think of it as a mucosal immune system with cells from the gut repopulating other areas of the body, providing protection to various antigens that the gut has seen.

In terms of using total parenteral nutrition as a model of an elemental diet, it is sort of a catch-22. If you use another kind of elemental diet and compare it with total parenteral nutrition, there is the criticism, ``Oh, you are not using identical solutions.'' So, the best way, I guess, to get to the bottom line is to use identical solutions enterally and parenterally as standards. Thank you.

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