The volatile anesthetic isoflurane poses a number of experimental challenges in the laboratory. Due to its rapid evaporation, the open conditions of most in vitro electrophysiological recording systems make the determination of actual isoflurane concentrations a challenge. Since the absolute anesthetic concentration in solution is directly related to efficacy, concentration measurements are important to allow comparisons between laboratory and clinical studies. In this study we quantify the sources of isoflurane loss during experimentation and describe a method for the measurement of isoflurane concentrations using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry simultaneous to in vitro electrophysiological measurements. Serial samples of perfused bath solution allowed correlation of isoflurane concentrations with ongoing biological effects. Saturated physiological solutions contained 13.4±0.2 mM isoflurane and were diluted to desired "nominal" concentrations for experiments. The perfusion system established stable isoflurane concentrations within the bath by 2 minutes. However, bath isoflurane concentrations varied substantially and unpredictably between experiments. The magnitudes of such discrepancies in isoflurane concentrations spanned clinically important levels. Our studies suggest that, despite countermeasures, solution handling significantly impacted the isoflurane content in the tissue bath. The magnitude of these discrepancies appears to necessitate systematic direct measurement of bath isoflurane concentrations during most in vitro conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)