Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Undersea Hyperb Med. 2006 May-Jun;33(3):197-204.

Recent neurochemical basis of inert gas narcosis and pressure effects.

Author information

Université de la Méditerranée et IMNSSA, EA 3280, Physiopathologie et Action Thérapeutique des Gaz Sous Pression, Faculté de Mèdecine Nord, IFR J. Roche, 13916 Marseille 20, France.


Compressed air or a nitrogen-oxygen mixture produces from 0.3 MPa nitrogen narcosis. The traditional view was that anaesthesia or narcosis occurs when the volume of a hydrophobic site is caused to expand beyond a critical amount by the absorption of molecules of a narcotic gas. The observation of the pressure reversal effect on general anaesthesia has for a long time supported the lipid theory. However, recently, protein theories are in increasing consideration since results have been interpreted as evidence for a direct anaesthetic-protein interaction. The question is to know whether inert gases act by binding processes on proteins of neurotransmitter receptors. Compression with breathing mixtures where nitrogen is replaced by helium which has a low narcotic potency induces from 1 MPa, the high pressure nervous syndrome which is related to neurochemical disturbances including changes of the amino-acid and monoamine neurotransmissions. The use of narcotic gas (nitrogen or hydrogen) added to a helium-oxygen mixture, reduced some symptoms of the HPNS but also had some effects due to an additional effect of the narcotic potency of the gas. The researches performed at the level of basal ganglia of the rat brain and particularly the nigro-striatal pathway involved in the control of the motor, locomotor and cognitive functions, disrupted by narcosis or pressure, have indicated that GABAergic neurotransmission is implicated via GABAa receptors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center