Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurosci. 2013 Apr 24;33(17):7264-73. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5475-12.2013.

Enhanced tonic inhibition influences the hypnotic and amnestic actions of the intravenous anesthetics etomidate and propofol.

Author information

Department of Neuroscience, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.


Intravenous anesthetics exert a component of their actions via potentiating inhibitory neurotransmission mediated by γ-aminobutyric type-A receptors (GABAARs). Phasic and tonic inhibition is mediated by distinct populations of GABAARs, with the majority of phasic inhibition by subtypes composed of α1-3βγ2 subunits, whereas tonic inhibition is dependent on subtypes assembled from α4-6βδ subunits. To explore the contribution that these distinct forms of inhibition play in mediating intravenous anesthesia, we have used mice in which tyrosine residues 365/7 within the γ2 subunit are mutated to phenyalanines (Y365/7F). Here we demonstrate that this mutation leads to increased accumulation of the α4 subunit containing GABAARs in the thalamus and dentate gyrus of female Y365/7F but not male Y365/7F mice. Y365/7F mice exhibited a gender-specific enhancement of tonic inhibition in the dentate gyrus that was more sensitive to modulation by the anesthetic etomidate, together with a deficit in long-term potentiation. Consistent with this, female Y365/7F, but not male Y365/7F, mice exhibited a dramatic increase in the duration of etomidate- and propofol-mediated hypnosis. Moreover, the amnestic actions of etomidate were selectively potentiated in female Y365/7F mice. Collectively, these observations suggest that potentiation of tonic inhibition mediated by α4 subunit containing GABAARs contributes to the hypnotic and amnestic actions of the intravenous anesthetics, etomidate and propofol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center