Muscimol microinfusion protocol. “On-target” trials of muscimol microinjection into the mesopontine tegmentum are those which extended anesthesia time beyond that attributable to residual circulating isoflurane (ISO). These define the location of the MPTA. A, B Meanings of symbols and lines are given in the legend for Fig. 2. All 6 mice are BALB/c females. C The duration of bonus times in individual trials correlates with the number of individual muscimol microinjections administered during the trial
The mesopontine tegmental anesthesia area (MPTA) was identified in rats as a singular brainstem locus at which microinjection of minute quantities of GABAergic agents rapidly and reversibly induces loss-of-consciousness and a state of general anesthesia, while lesioning renders animals insensitive to anesthetics at normal systemic doses. Obtaining...
Although general anesthesia is normally induced by systemic dosing, an anesthetic state can be induced in rodents by microinjecting minute quantities of GABAergic agents into the brainstem mesopontine tegmental anesthesia area (MPTA). Correspondingly, lesions to the MPTA render rats relatively insensitive to standard anesthetic doses delivered systemically. Using a chemogenetic approach we have identified and characterized a small subpopulation of neurons restricted to the MPTA which, when excited, render the animal anesthetic by sensorimotor (immobility) and electroencephalographic (EEG) criteria. These “effector-neurons” do not express GABAAδ-Rs, the likely target of GABAergic anesthetics. Rather, we report a distinct sub-population of nearby MPTA neurons which do. During anesthetic induction these likely excite the effector-neurons by disinhibition. Within the effector population ~ 70% appear to be glutamatergic, ~30% GABAergic and ~ 40% glycinergic. Most are projection neurons that send ascending or descending axons to distant targets associated with the individual functional components of general anesthesia: atonia, analgesia, amnesia, and loss-of-consciousness.