Normal rats subjected to end-to-side portacaval shunt showed decreased survival and weight gain, a progressive fall in serum albumin and reciprocal rise in serum gamma globulin when compared with sham-operated controls for 12 weeks. Antibacterial lipopolysaccharide antibody was detected in significant titre at the sixth and twelfth weeks.
It is suggested that the elevated levels of gamma globulin and reversal of albumin/globulin ratios noted in these animals may represent an immune response to bacterial lipopolysaccharides released into the systemic circulation as a result of the portacaval shunt. The hyperglobulinaemia of cirrhosis in human subjects may have a similar aetiology.
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