The in vitro response of canine peripheral blood lymphocytes to mitogenic stimulation was evaluated following general anesthesia for a relatively minor diagnostic procedure. A marked suppression in the blastogenic response to phytohemagglutinin and concanavalin A was observed 4 hours postinduction which persisted through the first 24 hours and was normal by 4 days. A mild suppression to stimulation with pokeweed mitogen was observed at 4 hours postinduction but the response was back to normal by 24 hours. These results suggest general anesthesia has a transient immunosuppressive effect on canine lymphocytes and T cells are more susceptible to the immunosuppressive effect than B cells.
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