Autoradiography of Whole Animals as an Experimental Tool in Pharmacological Research

  • V. Nair
  • L. J. Roth


Pharmacology is the study of drugs and their action on living systems. Elucidation of the mechanism of drug action frequently requires information on distribution patterns, metabolic fate, and excretion. The widely used method for the study of these processes involves sacrificing the animal by exsanguination or otherwise, dissecting out the organs of interest at room temperature, and homogenization, followed by assay for the drug and its metabolites by appropriate method. This approach suffers from certain limitations. The technique of whole-body autoradiography developed in Sweden by Ullberg and colleagues [1] seems to offer several advantages over the conventional method and is particularly suited for the study of the fate of radioisotopically labeled substances in experimental animals in the following respects: (1) It makes it possible to study the relative distribution of the drug in all the areas of the body rather than in just a few conveniently isolable organs, which is the case with the conventional method. (2) The secondary changes that may result in the period of dissection at room temperature are considerably minimized. (3) Short-time studies which cannot be done with any degree of assurance using the conventional method can easily be performed by the method of whole-body autoradiography. (4) It shows the blood-tissue barriers to drugs when such barriers exist and indicates the various excretory pathways. (5) Most important of all is the fact that it brings out facets which are often not apparent when conventional methods are employed, since all areas are revealed in the same experiment with or without conscious selection.


Human Serum Albumin Pharmacological Research Bral Blood Flow Excretory Pathway Tracer Methodology 
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Copyright information

© New England Nuclear Corporation 1963

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Nair
    • 1
  • L. J. Roth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of ChicagoUSA

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