Acepromazine and Chlorpromazine as Pharmaceutical-grade Alternatives to Chlorprothixene for Pupillary Light Reflex Imaging in Mice

Samantha S. Eckley, Jason S. Villano, Nora S. Kuo, Kwoon Y. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Studies of visual responses in isoflurane-Anesthetized mice often use the sedative chlorprothixene to decrease the amount of isoflurane used because excessive isoflurane could adversely affect light-evoked responses. However, data are not available to justify the use of this nonpharmaceutical-grade chemical. The current study tested whether pharmaceutical-grade sedatives would be appropriate alternatives for imaging pupillary light reflexes. Male 15-wk-old mice were injected intraperitoneally with 1 mg/kg chlorprothixene, 5 mg/kg acepromazine, 10 mg/kg chlorpromazine, or saline. After anesthetic induction, anesthesia maintenance used 0.5% and 1% isoflurane for sedative-and saline-injected mice, respectively. A photostimulus (16.0 log photons cm-2 s-1; 470 nm) was presented to the right eye for 20 min, during which the left eye was imaged for consensual pupillary constriction and involuntary pupil drift. Time to immobilization, loss of righting reflex, physiologic parameters, gain of righting reflex, and degree of recovery were assessed also. The sedative groups were statistically indistinguishable for all measures. By contrast, pupillary drift occurred far more often in saline-Treated mice than in the sedative groups. Furthermore, saline-Treated mice took longer to reach maximal pupil constriction than all sedative groups and had lower heart rates compared with chlorpromazine-and chlorprothixene-sedated mice. Full recovery (as defined by purposeful movement, response to tactile stimuli, and full alertness) was not regularly achieved in any sedative group. In conclusion, at the doses tested, acepromazine and chlorpromazine are suitable pharmaceutical-grade alternatives to chlorprothixene for pupil imaging and conceivably other in vivo photoresponse measurements; however, given the lack of full recovery, lower dosages should be investigated further for use in survival procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • GORR
  • LORR
  • PLR
  • gain of righting reflex
  • loss of righting reflex
  • pupillary light reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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