Effects of carbon dioxide-induced anesthesia on cholinergic parameters in rat brain

Lab Anim Sci. 1994 Aug;44(4):369-71.


We report that acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activities in rat brain were virtually identical whether the rat was anesthetized with carbon dioxide (CO2) before decapitation or decapitated without prior sedation. The AChE and ChAT activities were measured in three brain regions: the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and cerebellum. Enzyme activities varied significantly by brain region, with the highest values in the hippocampus and the lowest values in the cerebellum. Enzyme activities, however, did not vary with the method of euthanasia, either CO2-induced anesthesia prior to decapitation or decapitation without anesthesia. These data suggest that CO2-induced anesthesia prior to decapitation does not alter activities of these cholinergic markers in rat hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and cerebellum. This method of euthanasia eliminates the need to capture a conscious animal, which reduces stress to the animal and the experimenter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism*
  • Anesthesia*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Carbon Dioxide / pharmacology*
  • Cerebellum / enzymology
  • Cerebral Cortex / enzymology
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Euthanasia
  • Hippocampus / enzymology
  • Male
  • Rats


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase
  • Acetylcholinesterase