Evaluation of the intestinal microflora in the rat model for esophageal adenocarcinoma


Dr. Martin Fein Chirurgische Universitätsklinik, Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany. Tel.: (+49) 931 201 1; Fax: (+49) 931 201 3225; E-mail: fein@chirurgie.uni-wuerzburg.de


Surgically induced duodenal reflux results in cancer development in the rat esophagus. One proposed mechanism of carcinogenesis relies on the production of carcinogens in the presence of bacterial overgrowth. Against this background, intestinal microflora in the rat jejunum was analyzed before and after reflux-inducing surgery. Total gastrectomy and esophagojejunostomy were performed on Sprague–Dawley rats to produce esophageal reflux of duodenal juice (n=12). Three days before surgery they were randomized into three groups: animals which received tap water; animals which received acidified water at pH 1.8; and animals subjected to oral decontamination with triple antibiotics. During surgery and at autopsy after 2 weeks, intestinal juice was aspirated and analyzed immediately for bacterial content. The physiologic microflora of the rat jejunum contained Lactobacillus spp. and Bacteroides spp., both of which were resistant to the antibiotic regimen. Bacterial overgrowth with fecal bacteria was found following surgery. Acidified water did not alter the intestinal microflora. Triple antibiotics eliminated Escherichia coli and Proteus spp. and reduced the concentration of Enterococcus spp. Bacterial overgrowth by bacteria of the fecal flora occurs in the rat model of esophageal adenocarcinoma with the potential to catalyze the production of carcinogens.