Zebrafish 2017 02 13;14(1):1-7. Epub 2016 Jul 13.
1 Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, University of Washington , Seattle, Washington.
Long-term in vivo imaging in adult zebrafish (i.e., 1-24 h) has been limited by the fact that regimens for long-term anesthesia in embryos and larvae are ineffective in adults. Here, we examined the potential for dynamic administration of benzocaine to enable long-term anesthesia in adult zebrafish. We developed a computer-controlled perfusion system comprised of programmable peristaltic pumps that enabled automatic exchange between anesthetic and system water. Continuous administration of benzocaine in adult zebrafish resulted in a mean time to respiratory arrest of 5.0 h and 8-h survival of 14.3%. We measured characteristic sedation and recovery times in response to benzocaine, and used them to devise an intermittent dosing regimen consisting of 14.5 min of benzocaine followed by 5.5 min of system water. Intermittent benzocaine administration in adult zebrafish resulted in a mean time to respiratory arrest of 7.6 h and 8-h survival of 71.4%. Finally, we performed a single 24-h trial and found that intermittent dosing maintained anesthesia in an adult zebrafish over the entire 24-h period. In summary, our studies demonstrate the potential for dynamic administration of benzocaine to enable prolonged anesthesia in adult zebrafish, expanding the potential for imaging in adult physiologies that unfold over 1-24 h.