Bacterial translocation (BT) from the gastrointestinal tract has been proposed to play a role in the pathogenesis of septic complications in severely burned patients. In a burn model the effect of a subtherapeutic dose of polymyxin B-sulfate (PB) at BT was examined in Escherichia coli-monoassociated mice with Pseudomonas aeruginosa-inoculatedburn wounds. The BT incidence and number of translocating microorganisms to the spleen (p < 0.01), liver (p < 0.01), lung (p < 0.05) and heart (p < 0.05) were diminished significantly in the PB-treated versus the untreated group. Endotoxin in plasma was detectable in one of the 16 PB-treated versus 6 of the 17 control mice (p < 0.05). The relation of Pseudomonas burn wound inoculation, BT, endotoxin and the endotoxin-neutralizing properties of PB will be discussed.

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