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Can Anaesth Soc J. 1984 Mar;31(2):130-54.

Dantrolene--in vitro studies in malignant hyperthermia susceptible (MHS) and normal skeletal muscle.


Dantrolene sodium, a hydantoin analogue, is efficacious in the therapy of malignant hyperthermia (MH). In order to improve our knowledge of the mode of action of dantrolene, we have examined the influence of dantrolene sodium on: (1) twitch and resting tensions, in the absence and the presence of caffeine, of intact skeletal muscle fascicles; and (2) caffeine induced tension rises of single chemically skinned skeletal muscle fascicles. We have found that dantrolene appears to exert its beneficial action on malignant hyperthermia susceptible (MHS) skeletal muscle by an indirect action on the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Thus dantrolene inhibits twitch tensions of skeletal muscle fascicles, probably by indirectly preventing the release of calcium from the SR. To a lesser extent dantrolene inhibits caffeine induced contractures of skeletal muscle fascicles, probably by indirectly accelerating the uptake of calcium into the SR. Because the former effect is greater than the latter in vivo dantrolene sodium is effective only when given prior to total loss of calcium from the SR. Vigilant temperature and EKG monitoring of all patients during anaesthesia is, therefore, essential.

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