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Open Access Comparison of Atipamezole with Yohimbine for Antagonism of Xylazine in Mice Anesthetized with Ketamine and Xylazine

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The α2 adrenergic agonist xylazine produces a sedative effect and is typically combined with ketamine and used for anesthesia or chemical restraint of laboratory mice. Xylazine's sedative effect—and its undesirable side effects of bradycardia, hypotension, and poor tissue perfusion—can be reversed by administration of α2 antagonists, such as atipamezole or yohimbine. Although atipamezole and yohimbine dosing guidelines are available for mice, no controlled comparison has been performed to guide the lab animal community in the selection of one over the other. This study is a single-dose crossover comparison of these 2 antagonist drugs, given intraperitoneally at clinically recommended doses, to determine which results in more rapid recovery of mice from xylazine–ketamine anesthesia. Time to return of righting reflex was used as the primary outcome measure. Mice were anesthetized with xylazine (10 mg/kg IP) and ketamine (80 mg/kg IP), followed 15 min later by injection of an α2 antagonist or saline (control). Time to return of righting reflex differed significantly among groups, with mice recovering in an average of 10.3 min after administration of atipamezole (1 mg/kg IP) as compared with 21.3 min after yohimbine (1.5 mg/kg IP) and 38.2 min after saline. When rapid recovery of mice after xylazine–ketamine anesthesia is desirable, administration of an antagonist to reverse the effects of the xylazine is indicated. When injection of the antagonist by the technically simple intraperitoneal route is desirable, our data indicate that (at the doses evaluated) atipamezole is more effective than yohimbine.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Center for Laboratory Animal Medicine and Care, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas;, Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 3: Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 4: Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 5: Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication date: 01 March 2017

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

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