Background Very often rats are anesthetized prior to micro positron emission tomography (microPET) brain imaging in order to prevent head movements. Anesthesia can be administered by inhalation agents, such as isoflurane, or injection mixtures, such as fentanyl-fluanisone-midazolam. Unfortunately, anesthesia affects a variety of physiological variables, including in the brain. Aim The aim of this study was to compare the effects of inhalation and injection anesthesia on the binding potential of the dopaminergic D2/3 tracer [11C]raclopride used for PET brain imaging in human and animal studies. Materials & Methods Nine male Lew/Mol rats were assigned to either inhalation (isoflurane; N=4) or injection (fentanyl-fluanisone-midazolam; N=5) anesthesia. Catheters were surgically placed in femoral arteries and veins for blood sampling and tracer injection. After a short attenuation scan, the rats were PET scanned for 90 minutes after injection of [11C]raclopride. Results We found that rats anesthetized with isoflurane had double the binding potential in the striatum compared with fentanyl-fluanisone-midazolam anesthetized rats. Conclusion Our results are in agreement with other studies showing that anesthesia may have a major influence on brain imaging studies involving tracer kinetics in rats and other laboratory animals.