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Br J Pharmacol. 1999 May;127(1):131-8.

Concentration-dependent isoflurane effects on depolarization-evoked glutamate and GABA outflows from mouse brain slices.

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Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


The synaptic concentrations of glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) are modulated by their release and re-uptake. The effects of general anaesthetics on these two processes remain unclear. This study evaluates the effects of isoflurane, a clinically important anaesthetic, on glutamate and GABA release and re-uptake in superfused mouse cerebrocortical slices. Experiments consisted of two 1.5-min exposures to 40 mM KCl in 30 min intervals. During the second exposure, different concentrations of isoflurane with and without 0.3 mM L-transpyrrolidine-2,4-dicarboxylic acid (PDC, a competitive inhibitor of glutamate uptake transporter) or 1 mM nipecotic acid (a competitive inhibitor of GABA uptake transporter) were introduced. The ratios of the second to first KCl-evoked increases in glutamate and GABA were used to determine the isoflurane concentration-response curves. The results can be described as a sum of two independent processes, corresponding to the inhibitions of release and re-uptake, respectively. The EC50 values for the inhibitions of release and re-uptake were 295+/-16 and 805+/-43 microM for glutamate, and 229+/-13 and 520+/-25 microM for GABA, respectively. Addition of PDC did not significantly affect glutamate release but shifted the re-uptake curve to the left (EC50= 315+/-20 microM). Nipecotic acid completely blocked GABA uptake, rendering isoflurane inhibition of GABA re-uptake undetectable. Our data suggest that isoflurane inhibits both the release and re-uptake of neurotransmitters and that the inhibitions occur at different EC50's. For GABA, both EC50's are within the clinical concentration range. The net anaesthetic effect on extracellular concentrations of neurotransmitters, particularly GABA, depends on the competition between inhibition of release and that of re-uptake.

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