Publication Date



Frontiers in Neural Circuits


Brain research has progressed with anesthetized animal experiments for a long time. Recent progress in research techniques allows us to measure neuronal activity in awake animals combined with behavioral tasks. The trends became more prominent in the last decade. This new research style triggers the paradigm shift in the research of brain science, and new insights into brain function have been revealed. It is reasonable to consider that awake animal experiments are more ideal for understanding naturalistic brain function than anesthetized ones. However, the anesthetized animal experiment still has advantages in some experiments. To take advantage of the anesthetized animal experiments, it is important to understand the mechanism of anesthesia and carefully handle the obtained data. In this minireview, we will shortly summarize the molecular mechanism of anesthesia in animal experiments, a recent understanding of the neuronal activities in a sensory system in the anesthetized animal brain, and consider the advantages and disadvantages of the anesthetized and awake animal experiments. This discussion will help us to use both research conditions in the proper manner.


anesthesia, brain, experimental animal, anesthetic-activated cells, sensory representation



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