A new method for measuring motor evoked potentials in the awake rat: Effects of anesthetics

Marc Oria, Nicolas Chatauret, Nuria Raguer, Juan Córdoba

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17 Citations (Scopus)


The goal of this investigation was to develop a method to study the neurophysiological integrity of the central motor tract using motor evoked potentials in the awake rat and assess the effects of different anesthetics in this model. Rats were implanted with six subcutaneous electrodes (pediatric myocardial pacing leads) and one cranial screw. Motor evoked potentials of the hind limb were elicited after cranial and sciatic nerve stimulation. Experiments were repeated on different days during three weeks studying the effect of three different anesthetics (propofol, ketamine/xylazine, pentobarbital) at three different doses. Stimulation of motor evoked potentials in the awake rat was well tolerated with no effects on behavior. The electrodes could be kept chronically in place without signs of infection. The repeated recordings on different days showed high reproducibility after the fourth day following implantation of the electrodes. All three anesthetics induced an increase in the latency and a decrease in the amplitude of the motor evoked potentials which were dose dependent. Propofol (up to 1 mg/kg · min-1) affected motor evoked potentials to a lesser extent than the other anesthetics. Based upon these findings, we believe that our approach provides a new method of chronically implanting electrodes in the rat to assess the neurophysiological function of the motor tract without the need of anesthetics. This model may prove useful in the investigation of various diseases that affect the motor pathways without the confounding effects of anesthesia. © 2008 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-275
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2008


  • Anesthetics
  • Chronic implantation
  • Experimental models
  • Free moving
  • Motor evoked potentials

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