In this work we studied the impact of two widely used anesthetics on the electrical activity of auditory brainstem neurons during development. The spontaneous electrical activity in neonate rats of either sex was analyzed under the injectable mix of ketamine/xylazine (K/X mix) and the volatile anesthetic isoflurane (ISO). We used a ventral craniotomy in mechanically ventilated pups to carry out electrophysiology recordings in the superior olivary complex (SOC) between birth (postnatal day 0, P0) and P12. To characterize neuronal activity of single and ensembles of neurons, we performed patch clamp and multi-electrode experiments under different anesthetic conditions. Our results provide the first study that compares K/X mix and ISO in the same rodent species. We demonstrate that electrical activity of SOC neurons ramps up during development, and that the firing pattern of single units recorded in K/X mix was similar to that reported in ISO anesthetized rat pups. However, ISO displayed a large scatter on its suppressing effects on electrical activity when delivered at 1.5% in the presence or the absence of K/X mix. Taken together, our results shed light on the use of anesthetics for future studies to enable electrophysiology or optical imaging studies in-vivo to obtain functional information on the activity of medial olivochoclear neurons and their role in auditory development.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience