Sterilization of Microdialysis Probes: Efficacy of Methods and Effect on Probe Extraction Efficiency
Ball, Allison L.
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Microdialysis offers a powerful technique for obtaining samples from the extracellular fluid of various tissues or organs of an awake animal with little perturbation of the overall biological function. However, the probe implantation may require invasive surgery. Federal regulations and animal care guidelines for the use of experimental animals require that the surgery be performed aseptically for animals that will recover from the anesthesia. Thus, the microdialysis probe must be sterilized. Although useful for many medical and laboratory sterilizations, steam autoc1aving is unsuitable for the materials used in microdialysis probes. The purpose of this study was to systematically evaluate chemical sterilization techniques for microdialysis probes, through on-line coupling of a microdialysis system to high-performance liquid chromatography. Three sterilization treatments (ethylene oxide gas, 70% ethanol for thirty minutes, and a commercial contact lens disinfection system) were compared to the untreated control group. In vitro characterizations of the probes were used to determine if the sterilization techniques altered the extraction efficiency of the probe's membrane. Probes treated by each technique were implanted in the liver of male Sprague-Dawley rats for periods of one to five days. Post mortem evaluations for inflammation and infection and histological examinations of hepatic tissues were conducted. Results from this preliminary study suggest that ethylene oxide is not a good choice for microdialysis probe sterilization because it dramatically decreased the efficiency of the membrane and showed evidence of cytotoxicity in liver tissue. Treatment with 70% ethanol or the contact lens solution were more suitable as sterilization treatments for micro dialysis probes, although more research must be conducted to substantiate these findings.
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