The effects of two general anesthetics on skin oxygenation in mice are evaluated by electron paramagnetic resonance oximetry. Up to now no data on the effects of different anesthetics on skin oxygenation could be found. In this study animals were anesthetized with ketamine/xylazine or isoflurane, and partial pressure of oxygen (pO2) in the skin, heart rate and hemoglobin oxygen saturation were followed as a function of time and inhaled oxygen concentration. The skin pO2 significantly increased continuously for about 60 min in mice anesthetized with isoflurane and remained constant after that. During ketamine/xylazine anesthesia, the pO2 in the skin only slightly decreased. The skin pO2 increased with higher inspired oxygen concentrations for both anesthetics groups. When breathing 21% oxygen, mice anesthetized with isoflurane had two-fold higher pO2 in the skin compared to mice anesthetized with ketamine/xylazine. The heart rate was significantly lower in animals anesthetized with ketamine/xylazine, while hemoglobin saturation was almost the same in both groups at all inhaled oxygen concentrations. These results show that the type of anesthesia is an important parameter that needs to be considered in experiments where skin pO2 is followed.
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