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Intravenous propofol, ketamine (ketofol) and rocuronium after sevoflurane induction provides long lasting anesthesia in ventilated rats

April 28, 2022

Abstract: Rats are commonly used animals for laboratory experiments and many experiments require general anesthesia. However, the lack of published and reproducible intravenous anesthesia protocols for rats results in unnecessary animal use to establish new anesthesia techniques across institutions. We therefore developed an anesthesia protocol with propofol, ketamine, and rocuronium for mechanically ventilated rats, and evaluated vital parameters and plasma concentrations. 15 male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent inhalation induction with sevoflurane and tracheal, venous and arterial cannulation. After established venous access, sevoflurane was substituted by propofol and ketamine (ketofol). Rocuronium was added under mechanical ventilation for 7 h. Drug dosages were stepwise reduced to prevent accumulation. All animals survived the observation period and showed adequate depth of anesthesia. Mean arterial pressure and heart rate remained within normal ranges. Median propofol plasma concentrations remained stable: 1, 4, 7 h: 2.0 (interquartile range (IQR): 1.8–2.2), 2.1 (1.8–2.2), 1.8 (1.6–2.1) μg/ml, whereas median ketamine concentrations slightly differed after 7 h compared to 1 h: 1, 4, 7 h: 3.7 (IQR: 3.5–4.5), 3.8 (3.3–4.1), 3.8 (3.0–4.1) μg/ml. Median rocuronium plasma concentrations were lower after 4 and 7 h compared to 1 h: 1, 4, 7 h: 3.9 (IQR: 3.5–4.9), 3.2 (2.7–3.3), 3.0 (2.4–3.4) μg/ml. Our anesthesia protocol provides stable and reliable anesthesia in mechanically ventilated rats for several hours.
Key words: anesthetics plasma concentration, rat anesthesia techniques, rat inhalation anesthesia, rat long time anesthesia, rat ventilation