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Anesth Analg. 1998 Jun;86(6):1294-300.

Oleamide potentiates benzodiazepine-sensitive gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor activity but does not alter minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration.

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Department of Anesthesia, University of California-San Francisco 94143-0542, USA.


A naturally occurring brain lipid, cis-9,10-octadeceamide--oleamide (OA), is found in increased concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid of sleep-deprived cats, which suggests that it may be an endogenous sleep-inducing substance. We studied the effects of this fatty-acid derivative on the function of cloned gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA(A)) receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Oocytes were injected with cRNA synthesized in vitro to express simple GABA(A) receptors (alpha1beta1, alpha3beta1, alpha5beta1, and alpha1beta2 subunit combinations) and receptors in which the GABA-induced chloride currents were potentiated in the presence of benzodiazepines (alpha1beta1gamma2s and alpha1beta2gamma2s subunit combinations). OA only produced significant potentiation of the peak Cl- current when applied with GABA to benzodiazepine-sensitive GABA(A) receptors. The peak currents of the simple GABA(A) receptors in the presence of OA were either unaffected or slightly inhibited by OA, but the overall mean currents were not significantly altered. Oleic acid was also capable of potentiating benzodiazepine-sensitive GABA(A) receptor function. The function of other ligand-gated ion channels, such as the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NR1 + NR2A or 2C) and the 5-HT3 receptor expressed in Xenopus oocytes, were unaffected by OA. Sprague-Dawley rats receiving intraperitoneal injections of oleamide (10, 20, or 100 mg/kg) showed no change in the minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration (MAC) of desflurane required to abolish movement in response to noxious (tail clamp) stimulation (control MAC 6.48% +/- 1.28% atm; 100 mg/kg OA MAC 7.05% +/- 0.42% atm). These results reinforce the view that oleyl compounds may be natural modulators of inhibitory ion channel function, but that these effects contribute little to the central nervous system depression produced by volatile anesthetics as measured by MAC.


The putative sleep-inducing substance, oleamide, potentiates benzodiazepine-sensitive gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor function but does not alter desflurane minimum alveolar anesthetic concentration in rats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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