BACKGROUND: Infectious complications following experimental pancreatitis involve major disruptions in the gut microbiota. The aim of this study was to characterize this disruption by examining the spatioregional distribution in microbial community structure and function following experimental pancreatitis associated with pancreatic infection. METHODS: Mice were subjected to infusion of the pancreatic duct with either taurocholate to induce necrotizing pancreatitis or normal saline (control group). The spatial (lumen versus mucosa) and regional composition and function of the microbiota from the duodenum, ileum, caecum, colon, pancreas and blood were evaluated using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. RESULTS: Mice that developed necrotizing pancreatitis demonstrated a decrease in microbial richness and significantly altered microbiota in distal parts of the gastrointestinal tract, compared with controls. Among the most differentially increased taxa were the mucus-degrading Akkermansia muciniphila, and there was a decrease of butyrate-producing bacteria following pancreatitis. Application of the SourceTracker tool to the generated metadata indicated that the duodenum was the most probable source of bacteria that subsequently infected pancreatic tissue in this model. The functional prediction annotation using pathway analyses indicated a diminished capacity of the caecal microbiota to metabolize carbohydrate, and fatty and amino acids. DISCUSSION: The distal gut microbiota was significantly impacted in this model of experimental necrotizing pancreatitis. Data suggest that the duodenal microbiota might also play a role in bacterial translation and secondary infections.