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J Vis Exp. 2013 Mar 23;(73):e50301. doi: 10.3791/50301.

Assessment of gastric emptying in non-obese diabetic mice using a [13C]-octanoic acid breath test.

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  • 1Enteric Neuroscience Program, Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, Mayo Clinic.


Gastric emptying studies in mice have been limited by the inability to follow gastric emptying changes in the same animal since the most commonly used techniques require killing of the animals and postmortem recovery of the meal(1,2). This approach prevents longitudinal studies to determine changes in gastric emptying with age and progression of disease. The commonly used [(13)C]-octanoic acid breath test for humans(3) has been modified for use in mice(4-6) and rats(7) and we previously showed that this test is reliable and responsive to changes in gastric emptying in response to drugs and during diabetic disease progression(8). In this video presentation the principle and practical implementation of this modified test is explained. As in the previous study, NOD LtJ mice are used, a model of type 1 diabetes(9). A proportion of these mice develop the symptoms of gastroparesis, a complication of diabetes characterized by delayed gastric emptying without mechanical obstruction of the stomach(10). This paper demonstrates how to train the mice for testing, how to prepare the test meal and obtain 4 hr gastric emptying data and how to analyze the obtained data. The carbon isotope analyzer used in the present study is suitable for the automatic sampling of the air samples from up to 12 mice at the same time. This technique allows the longitudinal follow-up of gastric emptying from larger groups of mice with diabetes or other long-standing diseases.

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