Abstract

Animal experiments are necessary for a better understanding of diseases and for developing new therapeutic strategies. The mouse (Mus musculus) is currently the most popular laboratory animal in biomedical research. Experimental procedures on animals often require anesthesia and/or analgesia to obtain adequate immobilization and to reduce stress or pain. Mice anesthesia is challenging for several reasons including the animals' size, metabolic rate, and the high risk of hypothermia and hypoglycemia. Moreover, anesthetic agents influence physiological parameters, further interfering with experimental results. Small animal imaging procedures are increasingly used in biomedical research both because the animals allow in vivo monitoring and because they are readily available for longitudinal and noninvasive studies as well as investigations into the evolution of diseases and the effects of new therapies. Anesthesia must adapt to the imaging technique, the procedure length, and the aim of the study. The purpose of this article is to review the existing literature on anesthetic protocols adopted in mice for molecular imaging studies and to report our experience.