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Br J Anaesth. 2013 Apr;110(4):592-9. doi: 10.1093/bja/aes448. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

Presynaptic inhibition of the release of multiple major central nervous system neurotransmitter types by the inhaled anaesthetic isoflurane.

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1
Department of Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10065, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Presynaptic effects of general anaesthetics are not well characterized. We tested the hypothesis that isoflurane exhibits transmitter-specific effects on neurotransmitter release from neurochemically and functionally distinct isolated mammalian nerve terminals.

METHODS:

Nerve terminals from adult male rat brain were prelabelled with [(3)H]glutamate and [(14)C]GABA (cerebral cortex), [(3)H]norepinephrine (hippocampus), [(14)C]dopamine (striatum), or [(3)H]choline (precursor of [(3)H]acetylcholine; striatum). Release evoked by depolarizing pulses of 4-aminopyridine (4AP) or elevated KCl was quantified using a closed superfusion system.

RESULTS:

Isoflurane at clinical concentrations (<0.7 mM; ~2 times median anaesthetic concentration) inhibited Na(+) channel-dependent 4AP-evoked release of the five neurotransmitters tested in a concentration-dependent manner. Isoflurane was a more potent inhibitor [expressed as IC(50) (SEM)] of glutamate release [0.37 (0.03) mM; P<0.05] compared with the release of GABA [0.52 (0.03) mM], norepinephrine [0.48 (0.03) mM], dopamine [0.48 (0.03) mM], or acetylcholine [0.49 (0.02) mM]. Inhibition of Na(+) channel-independent release evoked by elevated K(+) was not significant at clinical concentrations of isoflurane, with the exception of dopamine release [IC(50)=0.59 (0.03) mM].

CONCLUSIONS:

Isoflurane inhibited the release of the major central nervous system neurotransmitters with selectivity for glutamate release, consistent with both widespread inhibition and nerve terminal-specific presynaptic effects. Glutamate release was most sensitive to inhibition compared with GABA, acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine release due to presynaptic specializations in ion channel expression, regulation, and/or coupling to exocytosis. Reductions in neurotransmitter release by volatile anaesthetics could contribute to altered synaptic transmission, leading to therapeutic and toxic effects involving all major neurotransmitter systems.

PMID:
23213036
PMCID:
PMC3600942
DOI:
10.1093/bja/aes448
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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