[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Results from several studies point to sodium channels as potential mediators of the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics. We hypothesized that the intrathecal administration of veratridine, a drug that enhances the activity or effect of sodium channels, should increase MAC.
We measured the change in isoflurane MAC caused by intrathecal infusion of various concentrations of veratridine into the lumbothoracic subarachnoid space of rats. We compared these result with those obtained from intracerebroventricular infusion.
As predicted, intrathecal infusion of veratridine increased MAC. The greatest infused concentration (25 microM) also produced neuronal injury in the hindlimbs of two rats and decreased the peak effect on MAC. A concentration of 1.6 microM produced the largest (21%) increase in MAC. Intraventricular infusion of 1.6 and 6.4 microM veratridine did not alter MAC. Rats given 25 microM died.
Intrathecal administration of veratradine increases MAC of isoflurane, a finding consistent with a role for sodium channels as potential mediators of the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics.
Anesthesia and analgesia 10/2008; 107(3):875-8. · 3.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies demonstrated that MAC for isoflurane directly correlates with the concentration of Na(+) in cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord, the primary site for mediation of the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics. If this correlation resulted from increased irritability of the cord, then infusion of increased concentrations of potassium (K(+)) might be predicted to act similarly. However, an absence of effect of K(+) might be interpreted to indicate that K(+) channels do not mediate the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics whereas Na(+) channels remain as potential mediators. Accordingly, in the present study, we examined the effect of altering intrathecal concentrations of K(+) on MAC.
In rats prepared with chronic indwelling intrathecal catheters, we infused solutions deficient in K(+) and with an excess of K(+) into the lumbar space and measured MAC for isoflurane 24 h before, during, and 24 h after infusion. Rats similarly prepared were tested for the effect of altered osmolarity on MAC (accomplished by infusion of mannitol) and for the penetration of Na(+) into the cord.
MAC of isoflurane never significantly increased with increasing concentrations of K(+) infused intrathecally. At infused concentrations exceeding 12 times the normal concentration of KCl, i.e., 29 mEq/L, rats moved spontaneously at isoflurane concentrations just below, and sometimes at MAC, but the average MAC in these rats did not exceed their control MAC. At the largest infused concentration (58.1 mEq/L), MAC significantly decreased and did not subsequently return to normal (i.e., such large concentrations produced injury). Infusions of lower concentrations of K(+) had no effect on MAC. Infusion of osmotically equivalent solutions of mannitol did not affect MAC. Na(+) infused intrathecally measurably penetrated the spinal cord.
The results do not support a mediation or modulation of MAC by K(+) channels.
Anesthesia and analgesia 10/2008; 107(3):879-84. · 3.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effect of intrathecal administration of glycine on the minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) of isoflurane in rats.
Intrathecal catheters were implanted in 40 adult male rats anesthetized with isoflurane. Baseline MAC of isoflurane was measured during the infusion of artificial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) alone. Subsequently, 10, 40, 80, 160, and 300 mmol/L of glycine dissolved in artificial CSF were infused for two hours at the same rate as under control conditions, and MAC for isoflurane was re-determined.
Intrathecal administration of glycine produced a significant, dose-dependent decrease in MAC for isoflurane (up to -65.2% +/- 16.2%).
Intrathecal administration of glycine decreases anesthetic requirement This result supports the idea that glycine receptors may be important to the immobilizing effect of anesthetics that enhance glycine receptor function such as isoflurane.
Chinese Medical Sciences Journal 04/2008; 23(1):16-8.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies demonstrated that MAC (the minimum alveolar concentration of an inhaled anesthetic that produces immobility in 50% of subjects exposed to noxious stimulation) for halothane directly correlates with the central nervous system concentration of Na+. However, those studies globally altered Na+ concentrations, and thus did not distinguish effects on the spinal cord from cerebral effects. This is an important distinction because the cord appears to be the primary site for mediation of the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics. Accordingly, in the present study, we examined the effect of altering intrathecal versus intracerebroventricular concentrations of Na+ on MAC.
In rats prepared with chronic indwelling catheters or stylets, we infused solutions deficient in Na+ and with an excess of Na+ into the lumbar subarachnoid and intracerebroventricular spaces and measured MAC for isoflurane before, during, and after infusion.
MAC of isoflurane correlated directly with concentrations of Na+ infused intrathecally but did not correlate with concentrations infused intracerebroventricularly.
The results are consistent with a mediation or modulation of MAC by Na+ channels. These might include voltage-gated or ligand-gated channels or other Na-sensitive targets (e.g., pumps, transporters, exchangers).
Anesthesia and analgesia 10/2007; 105(3):661-5. · 3.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have found that the local anesthetic/sodium channel blocker lidocaine decreased MAC by maximum amounts approximately equal to the decreases produced by dizocilpine (MK-801), a N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. Blockade of sodium channels by inhaled anesthetics has been suggested as a possible cause for impairment of transmission through NMDA receptors. We postulated that the net effect of lidocaine and MK-801 on MAC would be the same, albeit by affecting NMDA neurotransmission at different points.
We measured the effect of various lidocaine infusions on the MAC of cyclopropane, halothane, isoflurane, and o-difluorobenzene in rats. We also measured the effect of concurrent lidocaine-MK-801 infusion on the MAC of isoflurane and o-difluorobenzene.
Our data contradicted our predictions. (a) We found no limit to the effect of lidocaine infusion, in some cases finding that lidocaine, alone, produced immobility; (b) lidocaine infusion did not decrease the MAC of o-difluorobenzene differently from the MAC of other inhaled anesthetics; and (c) the addition of MK-801 equally affected the decrease in MAC produced by lidocaine infusion for isoflurane versus o-difluorobenzene.
Lidocaine does not primarily decrease MAC by decreasing the release of glutamate from nerve terminals.
Anesthesia and analgesia 06/2007; 104(5):1098-102, tables of contents. · 3.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Administration of drugs blocking muscarinic plus neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (e.g., atropine and mecamylamine) does not affect the MAC of isoflurane. Although this implies that acetylcholine receptors do not mediate the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics, another interpretation is possible. Sub-MAC concentrations of isoflurane alone profoundly block acetylcholine receptors, allowing for the possibility that atropine and mecamylamine have no effect because the receptors already are blocked.
In the present study, we indirectly tested this possibility by measuring the capacity of acetylcholine receptor blockade to decrease the anesthetic requirement for etomidate, an anesthetic thought to act solely by enhancing the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid on gamma-aminobutyric acid(A) receptors.
Administration of 10 mg/kg atropine plus 5 mg/kg mecamylamine did not change the infusion rate of etomidate, or the blood or brain concentrations of etomidate required to produce immobility in rats.
Acetylcholine receptors do not mediate the capacity of anesthetics to produce immobility in the face of noxious stimulation.
Anesthesia and analgesia 05/2007; 104(4):850-2. · 3.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Depletion of central nervous system catecholamines, including dopamine, can decrease MAC (the minimum alveolar concentration of an inhaled anesthetic required to suppress movement in response to a noxious stimulus in 50% of test subjects); release of central nervous system catecholamines, including dopamine, can increase MAC; and increased free dopamine concentrations in the striatum can decrease MAC. Such findings suggest that dopamine receptors might mediate part of the capacity of inhaled anesthetics to provide immobility in the face of noxious stimulation.
We measured the effect of blockade of D2 dopamine-mediated transmission with 0.3 mg/kg or 3.0 mg/kg droperidol on the MAC of cyclopropane, desflurane, halothane, isoflurane, or sevoflurane in rats, and the effect of 3.0 mg/kg droperidol on the dose or concentration of etomidate (an anesthetic known to act principally by enhancing the response of gamma-aminobutyric acid(A) receptors to gamma-aminobutyric acid) required to suppress movement in response to noxious stimulation.
Blockade of D2 dopamine-mediated transmission with droperidol does not decrease the MAC of cyclopropane, desflurane, halothane, isoflurane, or sevoflurane or its equivalent for etomidate in rats.
These data, plus data from studies by others about D1 dopamine receptors, indicate that dopamine receptors do not mediate the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics.
Anesthesia and analgesia 12/2006; 103(5):1177-81. · 3.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous reports suggest that the administration of epinephrine increases learning during deep barbiturate-chloral hydrate anesthesia in rats but not during anesthesia with 0.4% isoflurane in rabbits. We revisited this issue, using fear conditioning to a tone in rats as our experimental model for learning and memory and isoflurane and desflurane as our anesthetics. Expressed as a fraction of the minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration (MAC) preventing movement in 50% of rats, the amnestic 50% effective dose (ED(50)) for fear to tone in control rats inhaling isoflurane and injected with saline intraperitoneally (i.p.) was 0.32 +/- 0.03 MAC (mean +/- se) compared with 0.37 +/- 0.06 MAC in rats injected with 0.01 mg/kg of epinephrine i.p. and 0.38 +/- 0.03 MAC in rats injected with 0.1 mg/kg of epinephrine i.p. For desflurane, the amnestic ED(50) were 0.32 +/- 0.05 MAC in control rats receiving a saline injection i.p. versus 0.36 +/- 0.04 MAC in rats injected with 0.1 mg/kg of epinephrine i.p. We conclude that exogenous epinephrine does not decrease amnesia produced by inhaled isoflurane or desflurane, as assessed by fear conditioning to a tone in rats.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spinal cord mediates most of the immobilizing action of inhaled anesthetics. In the present study we investigated whether spinal or supraspinal sites mediate the immobilizing action of thiopental in rats. Thiopental was administered IV, intrathecally (IT), intracerebroventricularly (ICV), or simultaneously IT and ICV. Only the IV infusion produced anesthesia, defined as immobility in response to application of a tail clamp (i.e., the equivalent of minimum alveolar concentration, MAC). Consequently, the MAC-sparing effect (for isoflurane) of thiopental was used to assess the immobilizing contribution of IT and ICV infusions of thiopental. Thiopental concentrations were determined in whole brain, spinal cord, and a slice of cerebral cortex distant from the infusion sites. These concentrations were correlated with the MAC-sparing effect of the thiopental infusions in a multiple regression model. To assess the rate at which thiopental penetrates the cord, rat spinal cords were equilibrated in a bath of thiopental ex vivo and the concentration of thiopental in the cord was measured as a function of equilibration time. This was repeated in vivo with IT infusions of thiopental spanning the time of the behavioral studies. We found that IT or ICV infusion of thiopental 25 microg/min decreased isoflurane MAC <25%. The associated thiopental concentrations in the spinal cord after IT infusion, and in the whole brain after ICV infusion of 25 microg/min thiopental, exceeded by 500% and 680%, respectively, the concentrations found in the spinal cord and in the whole brain after IV infusion of thiopental in a dose that produced anesthesia in the absence of isoflurane. The percentage decrease in the MAC of isoflurane correlated primarily with the concentration of thiopental found in cerebral tissue not in contact with the cerebral ventricles. The spinal cord infusion produced an approximately 20% decrease in MAC. Ex vivo IT thiopental readily diffused into the spinal cord, with a time constant of approximately 1 h. We conclude that, unlike inhaled anesthetics, the immobilizing action of thiopental is largely supraspinal. Centers in the brain other than those near the third and fourth ventricles produce the greatest effect.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many inhaled anesthetics enhance the effect of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), supporting the view that the GABAA receptor could mediate the capacity of inhaled anesthetics to produce immobility in the face of noxious stimulation (i.e., MAC, the minimum alveolar concentration required to suppress movement in response to a noxious stimulus in 50% of subjects). However, only limited in vivo data support the relevance of the GABAA receptor to MAC. In the present study we used two findings to test for the relevance of this receptor to immobilization for isoflurane: 1) differences among anesthetics in their capacity to enhance the response of receptor expression systems to GABA: isoflurane (considerable enhancement), xenon (minimal enhancement), and cyclopropane (minimal enhancement); and 2) studies showing that the spinal cord mediates MAC for isoflurane. If GABAA receptors mediate isoflurane MAC, then their blockade in the spinal cord should increase isoflurane MAC more than cyclopropane or xenon MAC and the MAC increase should be proportional to the in vitro enhancement of the GABAA receptor. To test this thesis, isoflurane, cyclopropane, or xenon MAC was determined in rats during intrathecal infusion of artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF) via chronically implanted catheters. Then MAC was redetermined during infusion of 1 microL/min aCSF containing either 0.6 or 2.4 mg/mL picrotoxin, which noncompetitively blocks GABAA receptors. There was no consistent increase in MAC consequent to increasing the picrotoxin dose from 0.6 to 2.4 microg/min, which suggests that maximal blockade of GABAA receptors in the spinal cord had been achieved. Picrotoxin infusion increased MAC approximately 40% with all anesthetics. This indicates that GABA release in the spinal cord influences anesthetic requirement. However, the increase did not consistently differ among anesthetics and did not correlate with in vitro enhancement of GABAA receptors by these anesthetics. This supports the view that GABAA receptors do not mediate immobilization for isoflurane.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhaled anesthetics produce immobility during noxious stimulation, primarily by actions on the spinal cord. In this study, we examined whether activation of potassium channels of the KCNK subfamily alters volatile anesthetic potency. We measured the change in isoflurane minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration (MAC) during 4-h intrathecal or IV infusions of the nonspecific KCNK activator riluzole in 54 Sprague-Dawley rats. IV or intrathecal infusions of riluzole doses that did not result in permanent injury or death equally decreased isoflurane MAC. We conclude that although riluzole exhibited anesthetic effects, the similar dose response from IV or intrathecal infusion suggests systemic absorption and actions in the brain rather than the spinal cord. IMPLICATIONS: Riluzole, a drug that activates potassium channels and decreases glutamatergic neurotransmission, primarily acts on supraspinal sites to produce immobility in response to noxious stimuli. This finding does not support the hypothesis that potassium channels mediate the capacity of inhaled anesthetics to produce immobility in the face of noxious stimulation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many inhaled anesthetics block the in vitro effect of the excitatory neurotransmitter serotonin on the 5-HT2A receptor, supporting the view that this receptor might mediate the capacity of inhaled anesthetics to produce immobility during noxious stimulation (i.e., would underlie MAC, the minimum alveolar concentration required to suppress movement in response to a noxious stimulus in 50% of subjects). In the present investigation in rats, we found that intrathecal administration of the 5HT-2A blocker, ketanserin, can decrease isoflurane MAC. This effect, presumably mediated by blockade of serotonin transmission in the spinal cord, reaches a maximum of 20%-25%. An additional decrease (to 60%) may be obtained by IV infusion of ketanserin, and presumably this decrease results from ketanserin's actions on supraspinal centers. The IV doses of ketanserin that decreased MAC were approximately 100 microg. kg(-1). min(-1) in rats, compared with usual clinical doses of 1.25 microg. kg(-1). min(-1) in humans. These results indicate that 5HT2A receptors are in the neural circuitry influencing isoflurane MAC. These results, together with the blocking action of isoflurane on expressed 5HT2A receptors, strengthen the case for a role for 5HT2A receptors to isoflurane-induced immobility. However, because MAC for isoflurane is predominantly determined in the spinal cord, this result is consistent at most with a minor contribution of these receptors to the immobilizing action of isoflurane. IMPLICATIONS: A subset of serotonin receptors, 5HT2A receptors, may mediate or modulate a minor portion of the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: General anesthesia may delay the onset of movement in response to noxious stimulation. The authors hypothesized that the production of immobility could involve depression of time-related processes involved in the generation of movement.
The delays (latencies) between onset of tail clamp (n = 16) or 50-Hz continuous electrical stimulation (n = 8) and movement were measured in rats equilibrated at 0.1-0.2% increasing steps of isoflurane. In other rats (n = 8), the isoflurane concentrations just permitting and preventing movement (crossover concentrations) in response to trains of 0.5-ms 50-V square-wave pulses of interstimulus intervals of 10, 3, 1, 0.3, or 0.1 s during the step increases were measured. These measures were again made during administration of intravenous MK801, an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist that can block temporal summation (n = 6). Temporal summation refers to the cumulative effect of repeated stimuli. Crossover concentrations to 10- and 0.1-s interstimulus interval pulses ranging in voltage from 0.25-50 V were also measured (n = 4).
The increase in concentrations from 0.6 to nearly 1.0 minimum alveolar concentration progressively increased latency from less than 1 s to 58 s. Shortening the interstimulus interval (50 V) pulses from 10 to 0.1 s progressively increased crossover concentrations from 0.6 to 1.0 minimum alveolar concentration. In contrast, during MK801 administration shortening interstimulus intervals did not change crossover concentrations, producing a flat response to change in the interstimulus interval. Increasing the voltage of interstimulus interval pulses increased the crossover concentrations but did not change the response to change in interstimulus intervals for pulses greater than 1 V.
Increasing the duration or frequency (interstimulus interval) of stimulation increases the concentration of isoflurane required to suppress movement by a 0.4 minimum alveolar concentration MK801 blocks this effect, a finding consistent with temporal summation (which requires intact N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor activity) at concentrations of up to 1 minimum alveolar concentration isoflurane.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In animals, the conventional inhaled anesthetic, isoflurane, impairs learning fear to context and fear to tone, doing so at concentrations that produce amnesia in humans. Nonimmobilizers are inhaled compounds that do not produce immobility in response to noxious stimulation, nor do they decrease the requirement for conventional inhaled anesthetics. Like isoflurane, the nonimmobilizer 1,2-dichlorohexafluorocyclobutane (2N) impairs learning at concentrations less than those predicted from its lipophilicity to produce anesthesia. The capacity of the nonimmobilizer di-(2,2,2,-trifluoroethyl) ether (flurothyl) to affect learning and memory has not been studied. Both nonimmobilizers can cause convulsions. We hypothesized that if isoflurane, 2N, and flurothyl act by the same mechanism to impair learning and memory, their effects should be additive. We found that isoflurane, 2N, and flurothyl (each, alone) impaired learning fear to context and fear to tone in rats, with the nonimmobilizers doing so at concentrations less than those that cause convulsions. (Fear was defined by freezing [volitional immobility] in the presence of the conditioned stimulus [context or tone].) However, the combination of isoflurane and 2N or flurothyl produced an antagonistic rather than an additive effect on learning, a finding in conflict with our hypothesis. And flurothyl was no less potent than 2N (at least no less potent relative to the concentration of each that produced convulsions) in its capacity to impair learning. We conclude that conventional inhaled anesthetics and nonimmobilizers impair learning and memory by different mechanisms. The basis for this impairment remains unknown. IMPLICATIONS: Conventional inhaled anesthetics and nonimmobilizers are antagonistic in their effects on learning and memory, and this finding suggests that they impair learning and memory, at least in part, by different mechanisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The enhancing action of propofol on gamma-amino-n-butyric acid subtype A (GABA(A)) receptors purportedly underlies its anesthetic effects. However, a recent study found that a GABA(A) antagonist did not alter the capacity of propofol to depress the righting reflex. We examined whether the noncompetitive GABA(A) antagonist picrotoxin and the competitive GABA(A) antagonist gabazine affected a different anesthetic response, immobility in response to a noxious stimulus (a tail clamp in rats), produced by propofol. This effect was compared with that seen with ketamine and isoflurane. Picrotoxin increased the 50% effective dose (ED(50)) for propofol by approximately 379%; gabazine increased it by 362%, and both antagonists acted in a dose-related manner with no apparent ceiling effect (i.e., no limit). Picrotoxin maximally increased the ED(50) for ketamine by approximately 40%-50%, whereas gabazine increased it by 50%-60%. The isoflurane minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration increased by approximately 60% with the picrotoxin and 70% with the gabazine infusion. The ED(50) for propofol was also antagonized by strychnine, a non-GABAergic glycine receptor antagonist and convulsant, to determine whether excitation of the central nervous system by a non-GABAergic mechanism could account for the increases in propofol ED(50) observed. Because strychnine only increased the immobilizing ED(50) of propofol by approximately 50%, GABA(A) receptor antagonism accounted for the results seen with picrotoxin and gabazine. We conclude that GABA(A) antagonism can influence the ED(50) for immobility of propofol and the non-GABAergic anesthetic ketamine, although to a different degree, reflecting physiologic antagonism for ketamine (i.e., an indirect effect via a modulatory effect on the neural circuitry underlying immobility) versus physiologic and pharmacologic antagonism for propofol (i.e., a direct effect by antagonism of propofol's mechanism of action). This study also suggests that the immobilizing action of isoflurane probably does not involve the GABA(A) receptor because antagonism of GABA(A) receptors for animals anesthetized with isoflurane produces results quantitatively and qualitatively similar to ketamine and markedly different from propofol. IMPLICATIONS: IV picrotoxin and gabazine antagonized the immobilizing action of propofol in a dose-related manner, whereas antagonism of the immobilizing action of ketamine and isoflurane was similar, smaller than for propofol, and not dose-related. These results are consistent with a role for gamma-amino-n-butyric acid subtype A receptors in mediating propofol anesthesia but not ketamine or isoflurane anesthesia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many inhaled anesthetics potentiate the effect of glycine on inhibitory strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors in vitro, supporting the view that this receptor could mediate the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics during noxious stimulation (i.e., would underlie minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration [MAC]). There are quantitative differences between anesthetics in their capacity to potentiate glycine's effect in receptor expression systems: halothane (most potentiation), isoflurane (intermediate), and cyclopropane (minimal). If glycine receptors mediate MAC, then their blockade in the spinal cord should increase the MAC of halothane more than that of isoflurane and isoflurane MAC more than cyclopropane MAC; the increases in MAC should be proportional to the receptor potentiation produced in vitro. Rats with chronically implanted intrathecal catheters were anesthetized with halothane, isoflurane, or cyclopropane. During intrathecal infusion of artificial cerebrospinal fluid, MAC was determined. Then MAC was re-determined during an infusion of 3, 12, 24, or 48 (isoflurane only) micro g/min of strychnine (strychnine blocks glycine receptors) in artificial cerebrospinal fluid. Strychnine infusion increased MAC in proportion to the enhancement of glycine receptors found in vitro. The maximum effect was with an infusion of 12 micro g/min. For the combined results at 12 and 24 micro g/min of strychnine, the increase in MAC correlated with the extent of in vitro potentiation (r(2) = 0.82). These results support the hypothesis that glycine receptors mediate part of the immobilization produced by inhaled anesthetics. IMPLICATIONS: In vitro, halothane potentiates glycine's effect on strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors more than isoflurane and isoflurane more than cyclopropane. The present in vivo work indicates that antagonism of the glycine receptor with strychnine increases minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration for halothane more than isoflurane and isoflurane more than cyclopropane. Such results support the notion that glycine receptors may mediate part of the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined whether N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors influence the immobilizing effect of isoflurane by a spinal or supraspinal action. We antagonized NMDA receptors by intrathecal (IT), intracerebroventricular (ICV), and IV administration of MK 801 (a noncompetitive NMDA antagonist) and measured the decrease in isoflurane minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration (MAC). We also measured MK 801 tissue concentrations in homogenates of upper and lower spinal cord, a slice of cerebral cortex, and the whole brain. IT infusion of MK 801 decreased isoflurane MAC more potently than ICV or IV infusions. The change in MAC correlated with the MK 801 concentration in the lower part of the spinal cord (P < 0.01) but not with concentrations in supraspinal tissue. The maximal effect of IT MK 801 reached a plateau without achieving anesthesia. IV doses 270-fold larger than the largest IT dose also did not produce anesthesia in the absence of isoflurane. These results suggest that the capacity of MK 801 to decrease the MAC of isoflurane results from an effect on the spinal cord but that spinal NMDA receptors provide only partial mediation of the immobility produced by isoflurane. Because neither IT nor IV MK 801 provide complete anesthesia, these findings also call into question the notion that NMDA blockade alone suffices to produce anesthesia as defined by immobility in the face of noxious stimulation. IMPLICATIONS: Spinal cord NMDA receptors may mediate a portion of the immobilizing effect of isoflurane. Blockade of NMDA receptors in the cord by MK 801 has a MAC-sparing effect, but MK 801 does not, by itself, produce complete anesthesia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acetylcholine receptors transmit excitatory impulses, are broadly distributed throughout the central nervous system, and are particularly sensitive to the depressant effects of inhaled anesthetics. Thus these receptors are potential mediators of the immobility produced by inhaled anesthetics. We tested this potential in rats by giving intraperitoneal atropine, scopolamine, and mecamylamine to block muscarinic (atropine and scopolamine) and neuronal nicotinic (mecamylamine) acetylcholine receptors. Block with scopolamine (up to 100 mg/kg), atropine (10 mg/kg), mecamylamine (up to 4 mg/kg), or atropine (10 mg/kg) plus mecamylamine (up to 4 mg/kg) did not significantly decrease the isoflurane concentration required to suppress movement to noxious stimulation (minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration). We also gave atropine intrathecally, finding that the infusions that did not cause permanent paralysis produced slight or no decreases in the minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration. We conclude that acetylcholine receptors do not seem to play a role as mediators of immobilization by inhaled anesthetics. IMPLICATIONS: Inhaled anesthetics produce two crucial effects: amnesia and immobility in the face of noxious stimulation. Block of muscarinic and neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in rats does not significantly decrease the isoflurane concentration required to suppress movement to stimulation. Thus, acetylcholine receptors do not seem to play a major role as mediators of the immobilization produced by inhaled anesthetics. Their capacity to mediate other effects of inhaled anesthetics (e.g., amnesia) remains to be tested.