Two groups of adult rats fed a choline-deficient diet supplemented with neomycin in their drinking water for 250 or 350 days were protected against the development of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. At the termination of the study these animals weighed more than others not receiving neomycin. This difference in weight did not appear to be caused by a growth-promoting effect of neomycin but rather reflected the increased severity of liver disease and a resultant weight loss in animals not receiving neomycin. Protection by neomycin was cancelled when Salmonella typhosa endotoxin was added to the drinking water. It was concluded that the protective effect of neomycin was mediated by an alteration in the intestinal microflora resulting in a reduction in the numbers of organisms contributing to intraluminal endotoxin. In the presence of choline deficiency, absorption of intraluminal endotoxin may contribute to the development of fibrosis and cirrhosis.

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