The preventive effect of the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum 299v on bacterial translocation (BT) and the role of adhesion were studied in septic rats. Five groups of rats were pretreated as follows: negative and positive control groups received regular drinking water; the oatmeal group received drinking water mixed with oatmeal; the Lp 299v group received drinking water mixed with oatmeal containing 109 colony-forming units (CFU) L. plantarum 299v/ml; the Lp 299v-adh− group received drinking water with oatmeal containing 109 CFU/ml of modified L. plantarum 299v (L. plantarum 299v-adh−) lacking adhesive properties to enterocytes. On day 8, all rats except the negative control group were given lipopolysaccharide (LPS) intraperitoneally. After 24 h, mesenteric lymph node (MLN), liver and ileum were harvested for culture. Incidence of BT after LPS challenge was 25% and 88% in MLN and liver, respectively. BT increased to 75% in MLN and 100% in liver of endotoxemic rats pretreated with oatmeal. Pretreatment with L. plantarum 299v reduced BT to 0% and 12% in MLN and liver, respectively. L. plantarum 299v-adh− did not prevent BT to MLN. Flow cytometry revealed reduced adherence of these bacteria to intestinal epithelial cells compared to L. plantarum 299v. Thus, L. plantarum 299v prevents BT in septic rats, an effect probably dependent on bacterial adherence to the intestinal mucosa. Further, our findings indicate that oatmeal (prebiotics) without probiotics does not prevent BT during sepsis.