Immune-enhancing enteral diet increases blood flow and proinflammatory cytokines in the rat ileum

Paul J. Matheson, Ryan T. Hurt, Olivia F. Mittel, Mark A. Wilson, David A. Spain, R. Neal Garrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background. Enteral feeding improves outcome following surgery. Benefits depend on timing, route (enteral vs parenteral), and nutrient composition (standard vs immune-enhancing diets; IED). IED augments intestinal immunity and stimulates gut blood flow during absorption in a nutrient-specific manner. We hypothesize that a mechanism for the gut protective effect of IED is augmentation of blood flow to the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) in the terminal ileum. Methods. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (200-230 g) were fed for 5 days either an IED (Impact, Novartis) or an isocaloric, isonitrogenous control diet (CD, Boost, Mead-Johnson) matched to the daily caloric intake (rat chow). Rats were then anesthetized and cannulated for microsphere determination of whole organ blood flow. Blood glucose levels and blood flow to abdominal organs were determined at baseline and 30, 60, 90, and 120 min after gastric gavage (2 ml) with IED or CD. Intestinal tissues were harvested for cytokine levels (ELISA: IL-4, IL-10, IFN-γ, and IgA). Results. Chronic IED increased baseline blood flow in the distal third of the small intestine compared to chow-fed and CD. Baseline blood flow was comparable between IED and CD in all other organs. CD and IED produced different blood flow patterns after gavage. CD increased blood flow compared to baseline and IED in antrum, duodenum, and jejunum. Ileal blood flow remained elevated in IED rats for 2 h, perhaps suggesting maximal blood flow. IED increased blood glucose compared to CD. Chronic IED increased IL-4 and decreased IL-10 in the terminal ileum. Conclusions. Chronic IED exposure increases and sustains ileal blood flow compared to CD with altered proinflammatory cytokine expression. Our data suggest that a mechanism for the IED effect involves the selective perfusion of the terminal ileum and contiguous GALT during IED nutrient absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-370
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003


  • Blood flow
  • Enteral diet
  • Gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT)
  • Immune-enhancing
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Interferon-γ
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • L-arginine
  • Microspheres
  • Nucleotides
  • Postprandial hyperemia
  • ω-3 fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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