A method for recording single unit activity in lumbar spinal cord in rats anesthetized with nitrous oxide in a hyperbaric chamber

Joseph F. Antognini, Richard J. Atherley, Michael J. Laster, Earl Carstens, Robert C. Dutton, Edmond I. Eger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


The limited potency of nitrous oxide mandates the use of a hyperbaric chamber to produce anesthesia. Use of a hyperbaric chamber complicates anesthetic delivery, ventilation, and electrophysiological recording. We constructed a hyperbaric acrylic-aluminum chamber allowing recording of single unit activity in spinal cord of rats anesthetized only with N2O. Large aluminum plates secured to each other by rods that span the length of the chamber close each end of the chamber. The 122 cm long, 33 cm wide chamber housed ventilator, intravenous infusion pumps, recording headstage, including hydraulic microdrive and stepper motors (controlled by external computers). Electrical pass-throughs in the plates permitted electrical current or signals to enter or leave the chamber. In rats anesthetized only with N2O we recorded extracellular action potentials with a high signal-to-noise ratio. We also recorded electroencephalographic activity. This technique is well-suited to study actions of weak anesthetics such as N2O and Xe at working pressures of 4-5 atm or greater. The safety of such pressures depends on the wall thickness and chamber diameter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2007



  • Anesthesia
  • Electrophysiology
  • Hyperbaric
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Nociception
  • Pain
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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