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Open Access Modification of Immunologic and Hematologic Variables by Method of CO2 Euthanasia

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Background and Purpose: The major goal was to determine whether variations in the method of CO2 euthanasia would induce significant immunologic differences.

Methods: Young adult C57BL/6 mice (n = 40) were euthanized, using four regimens: 70% CO2/30% O2; 70% CO2/30%O2 → 100% CO2; 100% CO2-na├»ve chamber; and 100% CO2 pre-charged chamber. Time to recumbency and euthanasia and body, liver, lung, spleen, and thymus masses were determined. Blood and spleen were further evaluated for leukocyte, lymphocyte, and thrombocyte counts, erythrocyte characteristics, distribution of lymphocyte subpopulations, spontaneous and mitogen-induced blastogenesis, complement activity, and cytokine production.

Results: Time to euthanasia was five- to eightfold longer in mice exposed to 70% CO2/30% O2 than that for any other group. There were slight increases in mean erythrocyte volume (MCV) and mean erythrocyte hemoglobin (MCH) for all groups, compared with those for the 100% CO2 pre-charged group. Circulating cytotoxic T (CD8+) lymphocyte percentages and numbers, and spontaneous blastogenesis of leukocytes in blood and spleen, also were affected by euthanasia method.

Conclusions: The method of CO2 euthanasia can result in significant differences in immunologic/hematologic variables. Thus, consistency in euthanasia procedures may be important in accurate interpretation of research data.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2000

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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