Intraperitoneal (IP) anesthesia is commonly used for laboratory animal experiments including rat islet isolation. However, the direct effects of anesthetics on pancreatic islets have been neglected. This study compared the islet function and recovery yield from rats that were anesthetized using IP and intramuscular (IM) injection. In addition, the lag time required to lose deep pain was measured in the following anesthetics combinations. Lewis rats were anesthetized using ketamine and xylazine (K/X) or zoletil and xylazine (Z/X). A glucose challenge test was performed on each group of prepared islets. The effect of the anesthetic agents (e.g., ketamine, zoletil, xylazine alone, and the combination of K/X and Z/X) on cell lines (rat insulinoma; RIN-5F) was investigated by determining their effect on the cell viability, the amount of insulin, and insulin mRNA expression levels of RIN-5F. The time needed for deep anesthesia in IM anesthesia was significantly shortened in comparison to IP [K/X (IM: 313 ± 66 s, IP: 371 ± 84 s) and Z/X (IM: 206 ± 76 s, IP: 245 ± 92 s)]. In addition, number of isolated islet yield by IM anesthesia was significantly improved [K/X (IM: 1530 ± 242, IP: 1245 ± 149) and Z/X (IM: 1136 ± 226, IP: 511 ± 154)]. The functions of fresh islets, indicated by the stimulation index, acquired under IM anesthesia was better preserved than that of IP. The viability and the insulin secretion of RIN-5F were decreased at 24 and 48 h. Insulin gene expression levels were decreased at 24 h as well. Anesthetics may be absorbed through the pancreas surface to the islets and have a direct effect, resulting in islet exposure and deterioration during isolation. In conclusion, for rodent islet isolation, IM anesthesia is simpler and safer in comparison to IP anesthesia.
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