Nitrogen gas produces less behavioural and neurophysiological excitation than carbon dioxide in mice undergoing euthanasia
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Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most commonly used gas euthanasia agents in mice, despite reports of aversion and nociception. Inert gases such as nitrogen (N2) may be a viable alternative to carbon dioxide. Here we compared behavioural and electrophysiological reactions to CO2 or N2 at either slow fill or rapid fill in C57Bl/6 mice undergoing gas euthanasia. We found that mice euthanised with CO2 increased locomotor activity compared to baseline, whereas mice exposed to N2 decreased locomotion. Furthermore, mice exposed to CO2 showed significantly more vertical jumps and freezing episodes than mice exposed to N2. We further found that CO2 exposure resulted in increased theta:delta of the EEG, a measure of excitation, whereas the N2 decreased theta:delta. Differences in responses were not oxygen-concentration dependent. Taken together, these results demonstrate that CO2 increases both behavioural and electrophysiological excitation as well as producing a fear response, whereas N2 reduces behavioural activity and central neurological depression and may be less aversive although still produces a fear response. Further studies are required to evaluate N2 as a suitable euthanasia agent for mice. Show more
Journal / seriesPLoS ONE
Pages / Article No.
PublisherPublic Library of Science
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