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J Vet Med Sci. 2013 Jul 31;75(7):917-21. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

Influence of general anesthesia with isoflurane following propofol-induction on natural killer cell cytotoxic activities of peripheral blood lymphocytes in dogs.

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Division of Veterinary Surgery, Department of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, 1-7-1 Kyonan-cho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-8602, Japan.


To investigate influence of general anesthesia on immunological anti-tumor activity, the natural killer (NK) cytotoxic activity of peripheral lymphocytes (PBLs) was measured in 7 dogs anesthetized for 3 hr with isoflurane following propofol-induction (anesthesia group) and 6 dogs without anesthesia (control group). Blood samples were collected before (baseline) and 24, 120 and 192 hr after the anesthesia. The PBLs were isolated via centrifugation with Ficoll-Hypaque solution (density, 1.073), and adherent cells were removed. The NK cytotoxic activity of the isolated PBLs against canine thyroid cancer cells was detected by the colorimetric rose Bengal assay. Significant decrease in the NK cytotoxic activity was observed at 24 hr after the anesthesia, compared with the baseline values and the control group. The NK cytotoxic activities were recovered to the baseline values until 120 hr after the anesthesia. The general anesthesia with isoflurane following propofol-induction decreased the NK cytotoxic activities of PBLs in dogs. This finding has a clinical relevance to the risk of tumor recurrence or metastasis induced by the suppression of immunological anti-tumor activity after general anesthesia in dogs. The results further emphasized the importance of the need to evaluate immune suppression following general anesthesia in animals.

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