PURPOSE - Amplitudes of electroretinograms (ERG) are enhanced during acute, moderate elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP) in rats anaesthetised with isoflurane. As anaesthetics alone are known to affect ERG amplitudes, the present study compares the effects of inhalant isoflurane and injected ketamine:xylazine on the scotopic threshold response (STR) in rats with moderate IOP elevation.
METHODS - Isoflurane-anaesthetised (n = 9) and ketamine:xylazine-anaesthetised (n = 6) rats underwent acute unilateral IOP elevation using a vascular loop anterior to the equator of the right eye. STRs to a luminance series (subthreshold to -3.04 log scotopic cd s/m) were recorded from each eye of Sprague-Dawley rats before, during, and after IOP elevation.
RESULTS - Positive STR (pSTR) amplitudes for all conditions were significantly smaller (p = 0.0001) for isoflurane- than for ketamine:xylazine-anaesthetised rats. In addition, ketamine:xylazine was associated with a progressive increase in pSTR amplitudes over time (p = 0.0028). IOP elevation was associated with an increase in pSTR amplitude (both anaesthetics p < 0.0001). The absolute interocular differences in IOP-associated enhancement of pSTR amplitudes for ketamine:xylazine and isoflurane were similar (66.3 ± 35.5 vs. 54.2 ± 24.1 µV, respectively). However, the fold increase in amplitude during IOP elevation was significantly higher in the isoflurane- than in the ketamine:xylazine-anaesthetised rats (16.8 ± 29.7x vs. 2.1 ± 2.7x, respectively, p = 0.0004).
CONCLUSIONS - The anaesthetics differentially affect the STRs in the rat model with markedly reduced amplitudes with isoflurane compared to ketamine:xylazine. However, the IOP-associated enhancement is of similar absolute magnitude for the two anaesthetics, suggesting that IOP stress and anaesthetic effects operate on separate retinal mechanisms.