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

Clinical concentrations of volatile anesthetics reduce depolarization-evoked release of [3H]norepinephrine, but not [3H]acetylcholine, from rat cerebral cortex.

We compared the potencies of halothane, enflurane, and methoxyflurane in producing unconsciousness in vivo and in inhibiting the release of [3H]norepinephrine and [3H]acetylcholine in vitro. Rats were anesthetized with various concentrations of each anesthetic, and responsiveness was determined by a hemostat tail pinch. Slices of cerebral cortex were equilibrated with similar concentrations of each agent in vitro, and potassium-evoked release of [3H]norepinephrine and [3H]acetylcholine was determined. For both studies, brain concentrations of the anesthetics were determined by heptane extraction and gas chromatography. Using this method, we found that brain concentrations of all three agents which caused unconsciousness in vivo also reduced depolarization-evoked release of [3H]norepinephrine by approximately 30% in vitro. The release of [3H]acetylcholine was unaffected by similar concentrations of these anesthetics. Such selective interference with stimulus-secretion coupling in central noradrenergic, and possibly other, neurons might contribute to the depressant actions of volatile anesthetics. The differential effects on norepinephrine and acetylcholine release also suggest differences in the mechanisms by which these two transmitters are released.[1]


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