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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of anesthesia on functional activation of cerebral blood flow and metabolism.

Functional brain mapping based on changes in local cerebral blood flow (lCBF) or glucose utilization (lCMR(glc)) induced by functional activation is generally carried out in animals under anesthesia, usually alpha-chloralose because of its lesser effects on cardiovascular, respiratory, and reflex functions. Results of studies on the role of nitric oxide (NO) in the mechanism of functional activation of lCBF have differed in unanesthetized and anesthetized animals. NO synthase inhibition markedly attenuates or eliminates the lCBF responses in anesthetized animals but not in unanesthetized animals. The present study examines in conscious rats and rats anesthetized with alpha-chloralose the effects of vibrissal stimulation on lCMR(glc) and lCBF in the whisker-to-barrel cortex pathway and on the effects of NO synthase inhibition with N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) on the magnitude of the responses. Anesthesia markedly reduced the lCBF and lCMR(glc) responses in the ventral posteromedial thalamic nucleus and barrel cortex but not in the spinal and principal trigeminal nuclei. L-NAME did not alter the lCBF responses in any of the structures of the pathway in the unanesthetized rats and also not in the trigeminal nuclei of the anesthetized rats. In the thalamus and sensory cortex of the anesthetized rats, where the lCBF responses to stimulation had already been drastically diminished by the anesthesia, L-NAME treatment resulted in loss of statistically significant activation of lCBF by vibrissal stimulation. These results indicate that NO does not mediate functional activation of lCBF under physiological conditions.[1]


  1. Effects of anesthesia on functional activation of cerebral blood flow and metabolism. Nakao, Y., Itoh, Y., Kuang, T.Y., Cook, M., Jehle, J., Sokoloff, L. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2001) [Pubmed]
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