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Biomed Res. 2018;39(5):223-230. doi: 10.2220/biomedres.39.223.

Sevoflurane inhibits presynaptic calcium influx without affecting presynaptic action potentials in hippocampal CA1 region.

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Deptartment of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine Hokkaido University.
Department of Neurobiology, Faculty of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine Hokkaido University.


Although diverse effects of volatile anesthetics have been investigated in various studies, the mechanisms of action of such anesthetics, especially sevoflurane, remain elusive. In contrast to their potent modulation of inhibitory synaptic transmission there is little information about their effects on excitatory transmission in the brain. In this study, we examined the effect of sevoflurane on the excitatory synaptic transmission at CA1 synapses in hippocampal slices of mice. Sevoflurane at 5% was mixed with 95% O2 and 5% CO2 and bubbled in artificial cerebral spinal fluid (0.69 mM). Extracellular recordings of the field excitatory postsynaptic potential (fEPSP) and presynaptic fiber volley (FV) were made at physiological temperature. In addition, fluorescent measurements of presynaptic Ca2+ transients were performed while simultaneously recording fEPSP. Application of sevoflurane reduced the amplitude of fEPSP (45 ± 8%, n = 5). This effect was accompanied by concurrent enhancement of the paired-pulse facilitation of fEPSP (127 ± 5%, n = 12), suggesting a possible presynaptic site of action of sevoflurane. The amplitude of FV was not significantly affected (102 ± 5%, n = 5). In contrast, fluorescent measurements revealed that presynaptic Ca2+ influx was suppressed by sevoflurane (69 ± 5%, n = 7), as was simultaneously recorded fEPSP (44 ± 5%, n = 7). Our results suggest that sevoflurane potently suppresses excitatory synaptic transmission via inhibition of presynaptic Ca2+ influx without affecting presynaptic action potentials.

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