Anaesthetic protocols involving the combined use of a sedative agent, medetomidine, and an anaesthetic agent, isoflurane, are increasingly being used in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of the rodent brain. Despite the popularity of this combination, a standardised protocol for the combined use of medetomidine and isoflurane has not been established, resulting in inconsistencies in the reported use of these drugs. This study investigated the pharmacokinetic detail required to standardise the use of medetomidine and isoflurane in rat brain fMRI studies. Using mass spectrometry, serum concentrations of medetomidine were determined in Sprague-Dawley rats during medetomidine and isoflurane anaesthesia. The serum concentration of medetomidine for administration with 0.5% (vapouriser setting) isoflurane was found to be 14.4 ng/mL (±3.0 ng/mL). The data suggests that a steady state serum concentration of medetomidine when administered with 0.5% (vapouriser setting) isoflurane can be achieved with an initial subcutaneous (SC) dose of 0.12 mg/kg of medetomidine followed by a 0.08 mg/kg/h SC infusion of medetomidine. Consideration of these results for future studies will facilitate standardisation of medetomidine and isoflurane anaesthetic protocols during fMRI data acquisition.
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Michael Clarke (Manager)Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation & Analysis