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Isoflurane with morphine is a suitable anaesthetic regimen for embryo transfer in the production of transgenic rats

Smith, Jennifer C., Corbin, Timothy J., McCabe, James G., Bolon, Brad
Laboratory animals 2004 v.38 no.1 pp. 38-43
adults, depth of anesthesia, eggs, embryo (animal), embryo transfer, females, intramuscular injection, isoflurane, ketamine, laboratory animals, laparotomy, morphine, oxygen, pregnancy rate, prospective studies, pups, rats, transgenic animals, uterus, xylazine
During our initial attempts to produce transgenic rats, we found that an anaesthetic combination typically used for embryo transfer (intramuscular injection of ketamine [90 mg/kg] with xylazine [10 mg/kg]) yielded extensive variation in both the depth and length of anaesthesia. In the present prospective study, we compared the reproductive outcomes afforded by using either isoflurane (5% for induction, 2% for maintenance, carried in 2 l/min of oxygen) with morphine (5 mg/kg s.c., given immediately after isoflurane induction) or ketamine/xylazine in adult (250–300 g), pseudopregnant Sprague-Dawley rats. Each animal was anaesthetized with either isoflurane/morphine or ketamine/xylazine, after which 30 microinjected eggs were transferred into the left uterine horn. The mean pregnancy rate for isoflurane/morphine (15%) was 50% greater than that achieved with ketamine/xylazine (10%). The mean number of live pups (just over five per litter) was comparable for both regimens. All rats given isoflurane/morphine quickly achieved a surgical depth of anaesthesia and experienced a rapid postoperative recovery (3–5 min). In contrast, 25% of rats injected with ketamine/xylazine did not reach a depth of anaesthesia within 10 min that was sufficient for laparotomy, and all that were anaesthetized successfully required an extended postoperative recovery period (60–90 min). These data show that isoflurane/morphine is well tolerated by microinjected embryos and suggest that its use during embryo transfer may provide a means for both reducing the number of pseudopregnant females used and increasing the speed with which rat transgenic projects are completed.