BACKGROUND/AIMS: Cholestatic patients are prone to septic complications after major surgery due to an increased susceptibility to endotoxin and hypotension. High-fat enteral nutrition reduces endotoxin after hemorrhagic shock. However, it is unknown whether this nutritional intervention is protective in biliary obstruction. We investigated the effect of high-fat enteral nutrition on endotoxin, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and intestinal permeability in cholestatic rats subjected to hemorrhagic shock. METHODS: Bile duct-ligated (BDL) rats were fasted or fed with low-fat or high-fat enteral nutrition before hemorrhagic shock. Blood and tissue samples were taken after 90 min. RESULTS: Plasma endotoxin decreased after hemorrhagic shock in BDL-rats fed with high-fat nutrition compared to fasted (P<0.01) and low-fat treated rats (P<0.05). Additionally, circulating TNF-alpha was reduced in BDL-rats pretreated with high-fat nutrition compared to fasted rats (P<0.01). The increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules was reduced by high-fat enteral nutrition, whereas bacterial translocation did not significantly change. Simultaneously, tight junction distribution in ileum and colon was disrupted in non-treated BDL-rats but remained unchanged in high-fat pretreated BDL-rats. CONCLUSIONS: High-fat enteral nutrition protects against endotoxin-mediated complications independently of intraluminal bile. These results provide a potential new strategy to prevent endotoxin-mediated complications in cholestatic patients undergoing major surgery.