Endovascular techniques can now access the arterial blood supply of the pancreas in humans to enable therapeutics to reach the gland in high concentrations while concurrently avoiding issues related to non-targeted delivery. However, there is no way to replicate this in small animals. In a rat model, we therefore developed a novel non-terminal technique to deliver therapeutics to different regions of the pancreas, via its arterial blood supply.
In female Wistar rats, selective branches of the celiac artery were temporarily ligated, depending on the region of the pancreas being targeted. Trypan blue dye was then administered as a surrogate marker for a therapeutic agent, via the celiac artery, and its staining/distribution throughout the pancreas determined. Postoperatively, animals were monitored daily, and serum was evaluated for markers of pancreatitis, liver, and metabolic function.
Using this technique, we could selectively target the head, body/tail, or entire gland of the pancreas, via its arterial blood supply, with minimal nontarget staining. Following the procedure, all animals recovered with no evidence of pancreatitis or liver/metabolic dysfunction.
Our study demonstrates a novel technique that can be used to selectively deliver therapeutics directly to the rat pancreas in a safe manner with full recovery of the animal.