Author(s): Ming Z, Knapp DJ, Mueller RA, Breese GR, Criswell HE
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Abstract Ethanol and the volatile anesthetics share many features including effects on both GABA and NMDA receptors. To determine the degree of similarity between these compounds, we examined the concentration-response curves for ethanol and isoflurane on currents gated by GABA or NMDA. The effects of isoflurane and ethanol on the righting reflex of rats were also observed. The concentration of ethanol causing loss of the righting reflex of rats was 82.3+/-2.9 mM, whereas median concentration of isoflurane exerting that effect was 0.125 mM. Both isoflurane and ethanol inhibited NMDA-gated currents in cultured cerebral cortical neurons at concentrations well below those associated with loss of the righting reflex or anesthesia. However, the effect of isoflurane was greater than that of ethanol and the slope of the concentration-response curve for isoflurane less steep than that for ethanol. Isoflurane enhanced GABA-gated currents at anesthetic concentrations but there was a sharp concentration-response curve with only minimal effects of isoflurane on GABA-gated currents at concentrations associated with loss of the righting reflex. In contrast, ethanol had no effect on GABA-gated currents even at lethal concentrations, i.e. 300 mM or 1.2\%. Comparison of the concentration-response curves for the effects of isoflurane on NMDA- and GABA-gated currents has revealed both EC50 and Hill slope for the potentiation of GABA-gated currents were significantly greater than those for inhibition of NMDA-gated currents. These results support the hypothesis that isoflurane has actions on both the GABA and NMDA systems that are not shared by ethanol.
This article was published in Brain Res
and referenced in Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research