Galactosamine-induced fulminant hepatic necrosis in unanesthetized canines



A large animal model of fulminant hepatic necrosis is necessary to test the efficacy of artificial liver support systems. A recent model was developed using D-galactosamine in anesthetized dogs. Because of the difficulties encountered with prolonged anesthesia, a similar protocol was used in 10 unanesthetized dogs. Intravenous infusions of D-galactosamine (1.0 to 1.5 gm/kg) did not result in uniform death of all animals at 72 hours or development of hypoglycemia. Severe hepatic necrosis was observed in all animals, but residual hepatocyte viability was evident in some. All animals developed severe consumption coagulopathy with histological evidence of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in four. A clinical picture characteristic of endotoxic shock was observed in most animals as a terminal event. The presence of endotoxin was confirmed in all dogs tested after 12 hours (7/10). The differences observed between this model and the anesthetized model are probably because of the toxic synergism between halothane and D-galactosamine. Neither model seems satisfactory for the testing of artificial liver support systems. The halothane model requires extremely long periods of anesthesia and mechanical ventilation. The present model does not cause uniform or universal death of the animals within 3 days. Foremost, both models result in DIC and endotoxic shock, neither of which is likely to respond to bioartificial liver support or treatment with conventional dialysis membranes.