Jacobson, G.M., Voss, L.J., Melin, S.M., Cursons, R.T. & Sleigh, J.W. (2011). The role of connexin36 gap junctions in modulating the hypnotic effects of isoflurane and propofol in mice. Anaesthesia, available online 18 March 2011.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5209
Gap junction blockade is a possible mechanism by which general anaesthetic drugs cause unconsciousness. We measured the sensitivity of connexin36 knockout mice to the hypnotic effects of isoflurane and propofol. The experimental endpoint was recovery of the righting reflex of the anaesthetised animals during 0.2% step-reductions in isoflurane concentration, or following intraperitoneal injection of propofol (100 mg.kg⁻¹). Connexin36 knockout animals were more sensitive to the hypnotic effects of isoflurane than ‘normal’ wild-type animals. The half maximal effective concentration (EC50) for recovery of righting reflex was 0.37% for connexin36 knockout vs 0.49% for wild-type animals (p < 0.001). For propofol, connnexin36 knockout animals showed more rapid loss of righting reflex than wild-type animals (mean (SD) 2.8 (0.13) vs 3.8 (0.27) min); and young (< 60 days) connexin36 knockout animals remained anaesthetised for longer than young wild-type mice (47.2 (2.9) vs 30.5 (1.7) min; p < 0.00001). These findings suggest that the hypnotic effects of anaesthetic drugs may be moderately enhanced by gap junction blockade.
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in the journal: Asian Christian Review. Used with permission.