Increased electroencephalographic gamma activity reveals awakening from isoflurane anaesthesia in rats

J. Kortelainen, X. Jia, T. Seppänen, N. Thakor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Animal studies often require reliable measures for anaesthetic drug effects. Lately, EEG-based depth of anaesthesia estimation has been widely applied to rat models. This study investigated the reliability of different EEG spectral properties in revealing awakening from isoflurane anaesthesia in rats. Methods: Adult Wistar rats with previously implanted frontal epidural electrodes were anaesthetized using isoflurane. The anaesthesia was slowly lightened until awakening, as observed by the first spontaneous movement, after which anaesthesia was induced again by increasing the isoflurane concentration. EEG was recorded during the recovery and induction periods, and the spectrograms and 23 quantitative spectral parameters used in the depth of anaesthesia estimation were calculated from the signals. Results: The awakening was accompanied by a decrease in EEG activity at frequencies below 25 Hz, while the activity at higher frequencies (25-150 Hz) was increased. Whereas the behaviour of parameters used to measure activity in the lower frequencies was subject to variability between animals, the increase in higher frequency activity was more consistent, resulting in a statistically significant change in the relative gamma power parameters at the moment of awakening. Conclusions: The increase in frontal relative gamma activity, especially in the 50-150 Hz frequency band, seems to be the most reliable EEG indicator for the awakening of a rat from isoflurane anaesthesia. A number of other spectral measures can also be used to detect this event. However, the role of gamma frequencies in the performance of these parameters is crucial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-789
Number of pages8
JournalBritish journal of anaesthesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • anaesthesia, depth
  • anaesthetics volatile, isoflurane
  • monitoring, depth of anaesthesia
  • monitoring, electroencephalography
  • rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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