Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Anesthesiology. 2007 Apr;106(4):736-45.

Isoflurane depresses the response of inspiratory hypoglossal motoneurons to serotonin in vivo.

Author information

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.



Endogenous serotonin (5-HT) provides important excitatory drive to inspiratory hypoglossal motoneurons (IHMNs). In vitro studies show that activation of postsynaptic 5-HT receptors decreases a leak K+ channel conductance and depolarizes hypoglossal motoneurons (HMNs). In contrast, volatile anesthetics increase this leak K+ channel conductance, which causes neuronal membrane hyperpolarization and depresses HMN excitability. Clinical studies show upper airway obstruction, indicating HMN depression, even at subanesthetic concentrations. The authors hypothesized that if anesthetic activation of leak K+ channels caused neuronal depression in vivo, this effect could be antagonized with serotonin. In this case, the neuronal response to picoejected serotonin would be greater during isoflurane than with no isoflurane.


Studies were performed in decerebrate, vagotomized, paralyzed, and mechanically ventilated dogs during hypercapnic hyperoxia. The authors studied the effect of approximately 0.3 minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) isoflurane on the spontaneous discharge frequency patterns of single IHMNs and on the neuronal response to picoejection of 5-HT.


Normalized data (mean +/- SD, n = 19) confirmed that 0.3 +/- 0.1 MAC isoflurane markedly reduced the spontaneous peak discharge frequency by 48 +/- 19% (P < 0.001) and depressed the slope of the spontaneous discharge patterns. The increase in neuronal frequency in response to 5-HT was reduced by 34 +/- 22% by isoflurane (P < 0.001).


Subanesthetic concentrations of isoflurane strongly depressed canine IHMNs in vivo. The neuronal response to 5-HT was also depressed by isoflurane, suggesting that anesthetic activation of leak K+ channels, which is expected to result in a larger 5-HT response, was not a dominant mechanism in this depression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk