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J Neurosci Methods. 2003 Oct 15;129(1):19-31.

On the use of isoflurane versus halothane in the study of visual response properties of single cells in the primary visual cortex.

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Laboratoire des neurosciences de la vision, Ecole d'optométrie, Université de Montréal, C.P.6128 Succ. Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 3J7.


Halothane is a widely used anesthetic in research. It produces several alterations in organs, especially in the brain. Recently, isoflurane emerged in neuroscience laboratories. For many reasons it appears to be better than halothane for animal brain research (e.g. isoflurane induces lower intracranial pressure, and is less detrimental on the cardiovascular system). However, no one is in a position to recommend it in electrophysiology research because its effects on specific brain functions are relatively unknown. Given that both anesthetics yield different actions on gross brain activity (EEG, VEP), it is likely that they differentially affect single neuron activity. The goal of this study is to determine whether halothane or isoflurane use is best suited to study the receptive field properties of neurons in the cat's primary visual cortex. Extra-cellular recordings were made for both anesthetics in area 17 of adult cats under different levels of anesthesia. Results indicate that various cell parameters differ under halothane anesthesia when compared with isoflurane. The main difference between the two anesthetics is the greater depression of the cell optimal visual response amplitude induced by isoflurane at equipotent concentration. Due to its stronger depressive effects, isoflurane may not be the ideal anesthetic for single-cell recordings in the primary visual cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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