We had already found that anesthetics produce a decrease in catalase, an enzyme possessing the property of liberating oxygen from hydrogen peroxid, and accordingly suggested that this decrease in catalase with resulting diminution in oxidation might be responsible for anesthesia. It was also found that a strong anesthetic, such as chloroform, produced a much greater decrease in catalase than a weaker anesthetic, such as ether, and that a rapidly acting anesthetic, such as nitrous oxid, decreased catalase more rapidly than a more slowly acting one.
The object of the present investigation was to determine the effect of repeated administrations of anesthetics on the blood catalase. The animals used were rabbits, and the anesthetics chloroform and ether. Catalase determinations were made by adding 1 c.c. of the rabbit's blood, diluted 1: 3 with 0.9 per cent. sodium chlorid, to neutral hydrogen peroxid, and the amount of oxygen liberated in ten minutes