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Anesth Analg. 1994 Dec;79(6):1043-8.

Polyhalogenated and perfluorinated compounds that disobey the Meyer-Overton hypothesis.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, Veteran's Administration Hospital, San Francisco, California.


Fourteen polyhalogenated, completely halogenated (perhalogenated), or perfluorinated compounds were examined for their anesthetic effects in rats. Anesthetic potency or minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration (MAC) was quantified using response/nonresponse to electrical stimulation of the tail as the end-point. For compounds that produced excitable behavior, and/or did not produce anesthesia when given alone, we determined MAC by additivity studies with desflurane. Nine of 14 compounds had measurable MAC values with products of MAC x oil/gas partition coefficient ranging from 3.7 to 24.8 atm. Because these products exceed that for conventional inhaled anesthetics (1.8 atm), they demonstrate a deviation from the Meyer-Overton hypothesis. Five compounds (CF3CCIFCF3, CF3CCIFCCIFCF3, perfluorocyclobutane, 1,2-dichloroperfluorocyclobutane, and 1,2-dimethylperfluorocyclobutane) had no anesthetic effect when given alone, had excitatory effects when given alone, and tended to increase the MAC for desflurane. These five compounds had no anesthetic properties in spite of their abilities to dissolve in lipids and tissues, to penetrate into the central nervous system, and to be administered at high enough partial pressures so that they should have an anesthetic effect as predicted by the Meyer-Overton hypothesis. Such compounds will be useful in identifying and differentiating anesthetic sites and mechanisms of action. Any physiologic or biophysical/biochemical change produced by conventional anesthetics and deemed important for the anesthetic state should not be produced by nonanesthetics.

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