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What is the optimal anesthetic protocol for measurements of cerebral autoregulation in spontaneously breathing mice?

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Autoregulation, an important feature of the cerebral circulation, is affected in many diseases. Since genetically modified mice are a fundamental tool in biomedical research, including neuro(bio)logy also in this specie measurements of cerebral autoregulation (CA) are mandatory. However, this requires anesthesia that unfortunately significantly impacts cerebral perfusion and consequently might distort CA measurements directly or by altering arterial pCO2. The latter can be avoided by artificial ventilation but requires several control measurements of blood gases, each consuming at least 100 μl of blood or 5% of a mouse’s blood volume. To avoid such diagnostic hemorrhage, we systematically analyzed the effect of different common anesthetic protocols used for rodents in spontaneously breathing mice on CA measured with Laser speckle perfusion imaging. Halothane, Isoflurane and Pentobarbital abrogated CA and Ketamin/Xylazine as well as Chloralose had a moderate reproducibility. In contrast, the rather rarely used anesthetic Ethomidate applied in low doses combined with local anesthetics had the best reproducibility. Although with this anesthesia the lower CA limit was lower than with Ketamin/Xylazine and Chloralose as reported in the handful of papers so far dealing with CA in mice, we suggest Ethomidate as the anesthetic of choice for CA measurements in spontaneously breathing mice.

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J. V. is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (310000_120321/1).

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Johannes Vogel.

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Wang, Z., Schuler, B., Vogel, O. et al. What is the optimal anesthetic protocol for measurements of cerebral autoregulation in spontaneously breathing mice?. Exp Brain Res 207, 249–258 (2010).

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  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Laser Doppler flowmetry
  • Cerebral circulation
  • Pial arteries
  • Anesthetics
  • Mice