2017 Volume 42 Issue 4 Pages 491-497
Diethyl ether (ether) had been widely used in Japan for anesthesia, despite its explosive properties and toxicity to both humans and animals. We also had used ether as an anesthetic for euthanizing rats for research in the Toxicogenomics Project (TGP). Because the use of ether for these purposes will likely cease, it is required to select an alternative anesthetic which is validated for consistency with existing TGP data acquired under ether anesthesia. We therefore compared two alternative anesthetic candidates, isoflurane and pentobarbital, with ether in terms of hematological findings, serum biochemical parameters, and gene expressions. As a result, few differences among the three agents were observed. In hematological and serum biochemistry analysis, no significant changes were found. In gene expression analysis, four known genes were extracted as differentially expressed genes in the liver of rats anesthetized with ether, isoflurane, or pentobarbital. However, no significant relationships were detected using gene ontology, pathway, or gene enrichment analyses by DAVID and TargetMine. Surprisingly, although it was expected that the lung would be affected by administration via inhalation, only one differentially expressed gene was extracted in the lung. Taken together, our data indicate that there are no significant differences among ether, isoflurane, and pentobarbital with respect to effects on hematological parameters, serum biochemistry parameters, and gene expression. Based on its smallest affect to existing data and its safety profile for humans and animals, we suggest isoflurane as a suitable alternative anesthetic for use in rat euthanasia in toxicogenomics analysis.