Effects of avertin versus xylazine-ketamine anesthesia on cardiac function in normal mice

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Anesthetic regimens commonly administered during studies that assess cardiac structure and function in mice are xylazine-ketamine (XK) and avertin (AV). While it is known that XK anesthesia produces more bradycardia in the mouse, the effects of XK and AV on cardiac function have not been compared. We anesthetized normal adult male Swiss Webster mice with XK or AV. Transthoracic echocardiography and closed-chest cardiac catheterization were performed to assess heart rate (HR), left ventricular (LV) dimensions at end diastole and end systole (LVDd and LVDs, respectively), fractional shortening (FS), LV end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP), the time constant of isovolumic relaxation (τ), and the first derivatives of LV pressure rise and fall (dP/dtmax and dP/dtmin, respectively). During echocardiography, HR was lower in XK than AV mice (250 ± 14 beats/min in XK vs. 453 ± 24 beats/min in AV, P < 0.05). Preload was increased in XK mice (LVDd: 4.1 ± 0.08 mm in XK vs. 3.8 ± 0.09 mm in AV, P < 0.05). FS, a load-dependent index of systolic function, was increased in XK mice (45 ± 1.2% in XK vs. 40 ± 0.8% in AV, P < 0.05). At LV catheterization, the difference in HR with AV (453 ± 24 beats/min) and XK (342 ± 30 beats/min, P < 0.05) anesthesia was more variable, and no significant differences in systolic or diastolic function were seen in the group as a whole. However, in XK mice with HR <300 beats/min, LVEDP was increased (28 ± 5 vs. 6.2 ± 2 mmHg in mice with HR >300 beats/min, P < 0.05), whereas systolic (LV dP/dtmax: 4,402 ± 798 vs. 8,250 ± 415 mmHg/s in mice with HR >300 beats/ min, P < 0.05) and diastolic (τ: 23 ± 2 vs. 14 ± 1 ms in mice with HR >300 beats/min, P < 0.05) function were impaired. Compared with AV, XK produces profound bradycardia with effects on loading conditions and ventricular function. The disparate findings at echocardiography and LV catheterization underscore the importance of comprehensive assessment of LV function in the mouse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1938-H1945
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 50-5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Echocardiography
  • Left ventricular function
  • Murine physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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