Effect of pentobarbital on spontaneous recovery from hypoxic apnoea in mice

Margaret S. Jacobi, William M. Gershan, Bradley T. Thach

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12 Scopus citations


The effect of pentobarbital anaesthesia on spontaneous recovery from hypoxic apnoea (autoresuscitation) was investigated in SWR/J mice. Experiments were performed in 17 to 23 day old animals, in which the mechanism often fails, and in adults, in which it is usually successful. Mice, matched for age and weight, were injected with pentobarbital (62.5 mg/kg) or saline. Hypoxic apnoea was induced with 97% N2-3% CO2 and air given at its onset. To determine whether the effect of pentobarbital depended on hypothermia, we performed experiments in 17-23-day-olds with and without maintenance of body temperature. In the 'hypothermic' experiments one of 27 mice given pentobarbital died, compared with 10 of 22 controls (P < 0.005). In the 'isothermic experiments', none of 15 mice given pentobarbital died, compared to 7 of 13 controls (P < 0.005). All adults in both groups survived. Pentobarbital had a different effect on eupnoea and gasping: resting ventilation was depressed but gasp ventilation increased, and the duty cycle of gasps but not eupnoeic breaths was altered. Pentobarbital may facilitate autoresuscitation because gasping is unimpaired but oxygen consumption and lactate production are reduced, allowing cardiac function and cerebral survival until PO2 is restored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-349
Number of pages13
JournalRespiration Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1991

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement. This work was funded by NIH


  • Anaesthesia, and recovery from hypoxic apnoea
  • Apnoea
  • Hypoxia, recovery from hypoxic apnoea, tolerance in young vs adult mice
  • in hypoxia


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