Most pharmacologic studies on brain trauma in animals are performed while the animals are under general anesthesia, which can interfere with brain metabolism and modify the experimental results. This study investigates the effects of three anesthetic drugs (halothane 2% and 4%, propofol at 10 mg/kg, and chloral hydrate at 400 mg/kg) on the traumatic brain injury-induced neurologic deficit in mice. Trauma was induced with a weight-drop device. For each drug, animals were divided into four groups; the first did not receive either anesthesia or trauma, the second received anesthesia but no trauma, the third received a trauma without anesthesia, and the fourth received anesthesia before the trauma. A neurologic examination using two different scorings (string and grip test) was performed 1 hour and 24 hours after the trauma. Mortality after trauma was increased for halothane 4% (48% versus 20% in unanesthetized mice), propofol (80% versus 30%), and chloral hydrate (70% versus 44%). Halothane 2% did not increase the mortality in traumatized mice. Halothane 2% or 4% anesthesia did not modify the string score after the trauma. Grip score after the trauma was better in mice anesthetized with halothane at either 2% or 4%. Mice injured under anesthesia with chloral hydrate had worse grip and string scores (P < .05) than unanesthetized mice. These results lead us to question the influence of anesthesia on the results obtained in experimental neuropharmacologic studies, particularly when there are discrepancies between two studies on the same pharmacologic treatment, which differ in their anesthesia protocols.
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Limoges, Département Anesthésie-Réanimation, Limoges, France; *Université René Descartes, Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, Laboratoire de Pharmacologie, Paris, France; and **Aventis-Pharma S.A., Centre de Recherche de Vitry-Alfortville, Départment CNS, 94400 Vitry-sur-Seine, France
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Florence Wahl, Aventis Pharma S.A., Départment CNS, Ischémie-Trauma, 13 Quai Jules Guesde, 94400 Vitry-sur Seine, France.