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Anesthesiology. 2002 Apr;96(4):893-906.

Mechanisms underlying greater sensitivity of neonatal cardiac muscle to volatile anesthetics.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.



In neonatal heart, plasma membrane Na+-Ca2+ exchange (NCX) and Ca2+ influx channels play greater roles in intracellular Ca2+ concentration [Ca2+]i regulation compared with the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). In neonatal (aged 0-3 days) and adult (aged 84 days) rat cardiac myocytes, we determined the mechanisms underlying greater sensitivity of the neonatal myocardium to inhibition by volatile anesthetics.


The effects of 1 and 2 minimum alveolar concentration halothane and sevoflurane on Ca2+ influx during electrical stimulation in the presence or blockade of NCX and the Ca2+ channel agonist BayK8644 were examined. [Ca2+]i responses to caffeine were used to examine anesthetic effects on SR Ca2+ release (via ryanodine receptor channels) and reuptake (via SR Ca2+ adenosine triphosphatase). Ca2+ influx via NCX was examined during rapid activation in the presence of the reversible SR Ca2+ adenosine triphosphatase inhibitor cyclopiazonic acid and ryanodine to inhibit the SR. Efflux mode NCX was examined during activation by extracellular Na+ in the absence of SR reuptake.


Intracellular Ca2+ concentration transients during electrical stimulation were inhibited to a greater extent in neonates by halothane (80%) and sevoflurane (50%). Potentiation of [Ca2+]i responses by BayK8644 (160 and 120% control in neonates and adults, respectively) was also blunted by anesthetics to a greater extent in neonates. [Ca2+]i responses to caffeine in neonates ( approximately 30% adult responses) were inhibited to a lesser extent compared with adults (35 vs. 60% by halothane). Both anesthetics inhibited Ca2+ reuptake at 2 minimum alveolar concentration, again to a greater extent in adults. Reduction in NCX-mediated influx was more pronounced in neonates (90%) compared with adults (65%) but was comparable between anesthetics. Both anesthetics also reduced NCX-mediated efflux to a greater extent in neonates. Potentiation of NCX-mediated Ca2+ efflux by extracellular Na+ and NCX-mediated Ca2+ influx by intracellular Na+ were both prevented by halothane, especially in neonates.


These data indicate that greater myocardial depression in neonates induced by volatile anesthetics may be mediated by inhibition of NCX and Ca2+ influx channels rather than inhibition of SR Ca2+ release.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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