Norton, W. B., Scavizzi, F., Smith, C. D. et al. 2016. Refinements for embryo implantation surgery in the mouse: Comparison of injectable and inhalant anesthesias – tribromoethanol, ketamine and isoflurane – on pregnancy and pup survival. Laboratory Animals 50(5), 335-343.
An essential aspect of genetically-engineered mice (GEM) is the ability to produce live animals after the appropriate injection procedure. Animals are produced by implantation of manipulated embryos into pseudopregnant females for gestation, parturition, and growth to the weaning stage. This study was carried out to test whether the anesthesia used during surgery could affect the number of pups produced. Anesthetics commonly used for implant surgery include tribromoethanol (Avertin) delivered by intraperitoneal (IP) injection, IP-injected ketamine:xylazine or ketamine:medetomidine mix, and inhaled isoflurane. To determine if the anesthesia used might affect the number of animals produced, each anesthetic agent was tested in implant surgeries and the numbers of pups produced using both wild-type and GEM embryos were assessed. Parallel studies were conducted in institutions in the EU and in the USA. Based on a direct comparison of pregnancy status, number of pups born, and number of pups weaned for each agent, we found no statistical differences among the three anesthetics. We conclude that all three anesthetic agents tested are equally useful for implantation surgery.