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Abstract

A technique is described to remove the entire liver in a single stage with preservation of intestinal absorptive function. An inverted V-shape polyethylene cannula, either heparin bonded or silicon coated, was inserted into the portal vein and inferior vena cava to maintain venous return from the splanchnic and lower caval regions of the anhepatic rat. Blood glucose fell at a rate of 7 to 11 mg per hr per total plasma volume (4% body weight), usually resulting in hypoglycemia within the initial 2 hr. Euglycemia could be maintained in the first 3 hr after hepatectomy with hourly intravenous infusions of 2.5 to 5 mg per 100 gm body weight of glucose. Larger infusionś of glucose (10 to 12.5 mg per hr per 100 gm body weight) were necessary for normal levels at later times. A 0.5 gm per 100 gm rat weight intestinal glucose bolus restored euglycemia for at least a 2-hr interval. Intestinal absorption of cholesterol and oleic acid was demonstrated in the anhepatic rat, although the latter was not so efficiently absorbed as in the control. The plasma cholesterol decreased with time in the anhepatic rat. Prompt increases were observed in plasma free fatty acid and glycerol concentrations after hepatectomy. Progressive increases in both direct and indirect plasma billirubin levels were noted after hepatectomy. With appropriate maintenance of blood sugar, survival of 36 hr was observed. This procedure for single stage total hepatectomy in the rat can be performed in less than 30 min. The model is particularly useful for studies of the influence of the liver on post-absorptive metabolism.