Noradrenergic Trespass in Anesthetic and Sedative States
*Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Univeristy College London, London, United Kingdom. . †Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California. .Anesthesiology (Impact Factor: 5.88). 10/2012; 117(5):945-7. DOI: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e3182700c93
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ABSTRACT: Anesthetics have been used in clinical practice for over a hundred years, yet their mechanisms of action remain poorly understood. One tempting hypothesis to explain their hypnotic properties posits that anesthetics exert a component of their effects by "hijacking" the endogenous arousal circuitry of the brain. Modulation of activity within sleep- and wake-related neuroanatomic systems could thus explain some of the varied effects produced by anesthetics. There has been a recent explosion of research into the neuroanatomic substrates affected by various anesthetics. In this review, we will highlight the relevant sleep architecture and systems and focus on studies over the past few years that implicate these sleep-related structures as targets of anesthetics. These studies highlight a promising area of investigation regarding the mechanisms of action of anesthetics and provide an important model for future study.
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