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

The effects of halothane on sympathetic ganglionic transmission.

The effects of halothane on ganglionic transmission were studied in the stellate ganglion of the guinea pig using intracellular recordings in vitro. Depression of synaptic transmission is one of the actions common to many general anesthetics. The aim of this study was to investigate which of the processes involved in synaptic transmission are affected by halothane in concentrations comparable to those used during surgical anesthesia. The neurons of the stellate ganglion were depolarized using preganglionic nerve stimulation, postganglionic nerve stimulation, and intracellular stimulation before ad after introduction of halothane (vaporizer settings of 0.75% and 1.5% produced bath concentrations of 8 and 18 mg/dl, respectively). Halothane at both concentrations depressed sympathetic ganglionic transmission which was induced by stimulation of preganglionic nerves. Axonal transmission and the excitability of the postganglionic neurons to direct intracellular stimulation was far less sensitive to halothane than synaptic transmission. The depression of ganglionic transmission seen in the present study was most likely due to a decrease in transmitter release although alterations in postsynaptic receptor properties could have been involved as well. The decrease in sympathetic activity resulting from depression of ganglionic transmission probably contributes to the arterial hypotension seen during halothane anesthesia, along with direct myocardial depression, inhibition of catecholamine release from the adrenal medulla, direct action on vascular smooth muscle, and central sympathetic depression.[1]


  1. The effects of halothane on sympathetic ganglionic transmission. Bosnjak, Z.J., Seagard, J.L., Wu, A., Kampine, J.P. Anesthesiology (1982) [Pubmed]
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