Thurman, C. E., Rasmussen, S., Prestia, K. A. 2019. Effect of 3 euthanasia methods on serum yield and serum cortisol concentration in zebrafish (Danio rerio). JAALAS 58(6), 823–828.

Zebrafish are an important model in neuroscience and developmental biology and are also an emerging model in hematology and immunology. Little information is available for zebrafish regarding the physiologic impact of different euthanasia methods and whether a chosen method of euthanasia can impact serum yield. These parameters could impact the choice of euthanasia method for a study. To that end, the current study compared 3 methods of adult zebrafish euthanasia and their effects on 3 distinct criteria; time to loss of opercular movement, volume of serum obtained, and serum cortisol concentration. Blood was collected using a postmortem tail amputation and centrifugation blood collection technique. Time to loss of opercular movement differed significantly among euthanasia methods, with animals undergoing rapid chilling displaying the shortest time (mean Rapid Chilling: 40 s; Benzocaine: 86 s; MS222: 96 s). All methods of euthanasia resulted in a comparable average serum yield (Rapid Chilling = 7.5 µL; Benzocaine = 8.5 µL; MS222 = 7.5 µL per fish). None of the euthanasia methods tested resulted in average cortisol concentrations above the reported physiologic range. Although no significant differences were observed in serum yield or serum cortisol concentration, rapid chilling remains the preferred method for painless, humane euthanasia.

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