Ex vivo studies provide valuable pharmacology insights across many domains.
Isolated organ or tissue systems give researchers complete environmental control (temperature, pressure, flow, perfusate, etc.) and remove the normal homeostatic regulation and whole animal influences. Such systems allow researchers to more quickly and accurately determine cause and effect in the absence of endogenous influence.
Isolated heart setup and Organ perfusion systems allow researchers to investigate the heart, liver, kidney or mesenteric beds of small healthy or diseased animals as well as following drug challenges. These systems feed nutrients and oxygen to the organ after its removal from the animal. These preparations are useful because they allow for the addition of drugs (via the perfusate) and observation of their effect on the organ without the complications involved with in vivo experimentation, such as neuronal and hormonal effects from living animal.
Tissue baths or myographs are widely used to study the effects of agonists and antagonists through the measurement of tissue contractility. Dose and concentration response curves allow for quantification of a drug’s pharmacological profile and the calculation of EC50’s.