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Hear Res. 2012 May;287(1-2):25-9. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

A comparison of the effects of isoflurane and ketamine anesthesia on auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds in rats.

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Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Division of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, 801 N Rutledge, Rm 3205, Springfield, IL 62702, United States.


The auditory brainstem response (ABR) is an acoustically evoked potential commonly used to determine hearing sensitivity in laboratory animals. Both isoflurane and ketamine/xylazine anesthesia are commonly used to immobilize animals during ABR procedures. Hearing threshold determination is often the primary interest. Although a number of studies have examined the effect of different anesthetics on evoked potential waveforms and growth functions, none have directly compared their effect on ABR hearing threshold estimates. The present study used a within-subject comparison and typical threshold criteria, to examine the effect of isoflurane and ketamine/xylazine on ABR thresholds for clicks and pure-tone stimuli extending from 8 to 32 kHz. At comparable physiological doses, hearing thresholds obtained with isoflurane (1.7% in O(2)) were on average elevated across a broad frequency range by greater than 27 dB compared to ketamine/xylazine (ketamine HCl, 50mg/kg; xylazine, 9 mg/kg). This highly significant threshold effect (F(1,6) = 158.3403, p = 3.51 × 10(-22)) demonstrates a substantial difference between general anesthetics on auditory brainstem sensitivity. Potential mechanisms and implications for ABR threshold determination under anesthesia are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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