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Trends Neurosci. 1995 Dec;18(12):549-53.

Anesthetic actions within the spinal cord: contributions to the state of general anesthesia.

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Dept of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06514, USA.


The behavioral state known as general anesthesia is the result of actions of general anesthetic agents at multiple sites within the neuraxis. The most common end point used to measure the presence of anesthesia is absence of movement following the presentation of a noxious stimulus. The actions of general anesthetics within the spinal cord have been shown to contribute significantly to the suppression of pain-evoked movements, an important component of clinical anesthesia. Studies in the spinal cord are likely to increase our understanding of the pharmacology by which general anesthetics alter the transmission of somatomotor information. It now appears that the pharmacology responsible for the production of anesthesia is agent- and site-selective, and not the result of a unitary mechanism of action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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