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ERIC Number: EJ1217684
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1043-4046
Anesthetic MS-222 Eliminates Nerve and Muscle Activity in Frogs Used for Physiology Teaching Laboratories
Medler, Scott
Advances in Physiology Education, v43 n2 p69-75 Mar 2019
Frogs are routinely used in physiology teaching laboratories to demonstrate important physiological processes. There have been recent directives that promote the use of the anesthetic MS-222 (tricaine methanesulfonate), rather than lowering body temperature with a cold water bath to prepare reptiles and amphibians for physiological experiments or euthanasia. Indeed, the most recent edition of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) "Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals" proclaims that chilling in water is not an appropriate method and advocates for the usage of MS-222 or other anesthetics. However, prominent researchers have responded to this position by highlighting evidence that cooling ectothermic vertebrates is, in fact, an effective and appropriate method. Furthermore, MS-222 is a known voltage-gated Na+ channel blocker, and this anesthetic's impact on the physiology of excitable tissues suggests that its use might be incompatible with experiments on nerve and muscle tissues. In the present study, I examined the effects of MS-222 at a concentration of 1.5 g/l on nerve, skeletal muscle, and cardiac muscle physiology of frogs. I found that immersion of frogs in this anesthetic blocked basic nerve and muscle physiology, making the frogs unsuitable for laboratory experiments. Applying MS-222 directly to the sciatic nerve dramatically blocked normal excitation-contraction coupling in skeletal muscle preparations, and direct application to the heart caused the organs to stop contracting. Based on these results, I conclude that MS-222 at the concentration studied may be incompatible with physiological preparations that rely on electrically excitable tissues for their normal function. Physiology educators who must use MS-222 with frogs should empirically determine an appropriate dosage and recovery time before using the anesthetic in the teaching laboratory.
American Physiological Society. 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3991. Tel: 301-634-7164; Fax: 301-634-7241; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York