Arterial blood sampling in male CD-1 and C57BL/6J mice with 1% isoflurane is similar to awake mice

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Journal of Applied Physiology


Isoflurane (ISO) is a commonly used anesthetic that offers rapid recovery for laboratory animal research. Initial studies indicated no difference in arterial PCO 2 (Pa CO2 ) or pH between conscious (NO ISO) and 1% ISO-exposed CD-1 mice. Our laboratory investigated whether arterial blood sampling with 1% ISO is a suitable alternative to NO ISO sampling for monitoring ventilation in a commonly studied mouse strain. We hypothesized similar blood chemistry, breathing patterns, and cardiovascular responses with NO ISO and 1% ISO. C57BL/6J mice underwent unrestrained barometric plethysmography to quantify the pattern of breathing. Mice exposed to hypoxic and hypercapnic gas under 1% ISO displayed blunted responses; with air, there were no breathing differences. Blood pressure and heart rate were not different between NO ISO and 1% ISO-exposed mice breathing air. Oxygen saturation was not different between groups receiving 2% ISO, 1% ISO, or air. Breathing frequency stabilized at ~11 min of 1% ISO following 2% ISO exposure, suggesting that 11 min is the optimal time for a sample in C57BL/6J mice. Blood samples at 1% ISO and NO ISO revealed no differences in blood pH and Pa CO2 in C57BL/6J mice. Overall, this method reveals similar arterial blood sampling values in awake and 1% ISO CD-1 and C57BL/6J mice exposed to air. Although this protocol may be appropriate in other mouse strains when a conscious sample is not feasible, caution is warranted first to identify breathing frequency responses at 1% ISO to tailor the protocol. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Conscious arterial blood sampling is influenced by extraneous factors and is a challenging method due to the small size of mice. Through a series of experiments, we show that arterial blood sampling with 1% isoflurane (ISO) is an alternative to awake sampling in C57BL/6J and CD-1 male mice breathing air. Monitoring breathing frequency during 1% ISO is important to the protocol and should be closely followed to confirm adequate recovery after the catheter implantation.

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