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PLoS One. 2010 Jun 17;5(6):e11172. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011172.

Pattern recognition analysis of proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of brain tissue extracts from rats anesthetized with propofol or isoflurane.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Nippon Medical School, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan. hiro-kawaguchi@nms.ac.jp



General anesthesia is routinely used as a surgical procedure and its safety has been endorsed by clinical outcomes; however, its effects at the molecular level have not been elucidated. General anesthetics influence glucose metabolism in the brain. However, the effects of anesthetics on brain metabolites other than those related to glucose have not been well characterized. We used a pattern recognition analysis of proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectra to visualize the changes in holistic brain metabolic phenotypes in response to the widely used intravenous anesthetic propofol and the volatile anesthetic isoflurane.


Rats were randomized into five groups (n = 7 each group). Propofol and isoflurane were administered to two groups each, for 2 or 6 h. The control group received no anesthesia. Brains were removed directly after anesthesia. Hydrophilic compounds were extracted from excised whole brains and measured by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. All spectral data were processed and analyzed by principal component analysis for comparison of the metabolite profiles. Data were visualized by plotting principal component (PC) scores. In the plots, each point represents an individual sample. The propofol and isoflurane groups were clustered separately on the plots, and this separation was especially pronounced when comparing the 6-h groups. The PC scores of the propofol group were clearly distinct from those of the control group, particularly in the 6-h group, whereas the difference in PC scores was more subtle in the isoflurane group and control groups.


The results of the present study showed that propofol and isoflurane exerted differential effects on holistic brain metabolism under anesthesia.

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