European journal of anaesthesiology

In vitro effects of 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol in skeletal muscle preparations from malignant hyperthermia susceptible and normal swine.

PMID 11999597


The in vitro contracture test with halothane and caffeine is the current gold standard for diagnosis of malignant hyperthermia. This test has a sensitivity of 99.0% but a specificity of only 93.6%. Therefore, an alternative drug is desirable which distinguishes between malignant hyperthermia-susceptible and malignant hyperthermia-normal subjects with a higher specificity and sensitivity. 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol has recently been shown to trigger Ca2+-induced Ca2+-release in skeletal muscle terminal cisternae and to increase the myoplasmic free Ca2+ concentration in skeletal muscle fibres. The purpose of this study was to investigate the ability of 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol to distinguish between malignant hyperthermia-susceptible and malignant hyperthermia-normal porcine muscle specimen in the in vitro contracture test. Ten malignant hyperthermia-susceptible and 14 malignant hyperthermia-normal swine were anaesthetized and muscle biopsies were taken. For the in vitro contracture test muscle specimens were exposed to cumulative concentrations of 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol (12.5 to 200 micromol L(-1)). 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol produced contractures in a concentration-dependent manner in the malignant hyperthermia-susceptible muscle bundles. In contrast, cumulative 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol did not generate contractures in malignant hyperthermia-normal specimens. Contractures were significantly greater (P < 0.05) in the malignant hyperthermia-susceptible compared to the malignant hyperthermia-normal preparations in all 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol concentration steps from 50 micromol L(-1) to 200 micromol L(-1). There was no overlap between the two groups above a concentration of 75 micromol L(-1) in cumulative 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol in vitro contracture tests. It remains to be verified whether an in vitro contracture test with 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol can also discriminate between malignant hyperthermia-susceptible and malignant hyperthermia-normal humans. Since no prior tested agent revealed a clear differentiation in contracture development without overlap, the 4-chloro-3-ethylphenol test might be a promising new approach to the diagnosis of malignant hyperthermia.

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4-Chloro-3-ethylphenol, 97%