Blevins, C. E., Celeste, N. A., Marx, J. O. 2021. Effects of oxygen supplementation on injectable and inhalant anesthesia in C57BL/6 mice. JAALAS 60(3), 289-297.
Oxygen supplementation is rarely considered when anesthetizing laboratory mice, despite reports that mice become profoundly hypoxic under anesthesia. Little is known about the effects of hypoxia on anesthetic performance. This article focuses on the effects of oxygen supplementation on physiologic parameters and depth of anesthesia in male and female C57BL/6 mice. Anesthesia was performed via common injectable anesthetic protocols and with isoflurane. Mice anesthetized with injectable anesthesia received one of 3 drug protocols. Low-dose ketamine/xylazine (100/8 mg/kg) was chosen to provide immobilization of mice, suitable for imaging procedures. Medium-dose ketamine/xylazine/acepromazine (100/10/1 mg/kg) was chosen as a dose that has been recommended for surgical procedures. High-dose ketamine/xylazine/acepromazine (150/12/3 mg/kg) was chosen after pilot studies to provide a long duration of a deep plane of anesthesia. We also tested the effects of oxygen supplementation on the minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) of isoflurane in mice. Mice breathed supplemental 100% oxygen, room air, or medical air with 21% oxygen. Anesthetized mice that did not receive supplemental oxygen all became hypoxic, while hypoxia was prevented in mice that received oxygen. Oxygen supplementation did not affect the MAC of isoflurane. At the high injectable dose, all mice not receiving oxygen supplementation died while all mice receiving oxygen supplementation survived. At low and medium doses, supplemental oxygen reduced the duration of the surgical plane of anesthesia (low dose with oxygen: 22 ± 14 min; low dose without supplementation: 29 ± 18 min; medium dose with oxygen: 43 ± 18 min; medium dose without supplementation: 61 ± 27 min). These results suggest that mice anesthetized with injectable and inhalant anesthesia without supplemental oxygen are routinely hypoxic. This hypoxia prolongs the duration of anesthesia with injectable drug protocols and affects survival at high doses of injectable anesthetics. Because of variable responses to injectable anesthetics in mice, oxygen supplementation is recommended for all anesthetized mice.