The American journal of physiology

Conduction blockade in myelinated fibers by gaseous and volatile substances.

PMID 2001003


The minimum ambient partial pressure required to reversibly disrupt conducted responses in myelinated nerve fibers (Pblock) was determined for 11 gases and chloroform. For all but one substance, Pblock was inversely proportional to their nonaqueous solubility; large-diameter fibers were less vulnerable than fibers of small diameter. No "anesthetic" effect was displayed by SF6. At the Pblock for three of the agents, the time for completion of their anesthetic action (tb) was proportional to their lipid-to-aqueous solubility ratio. When the ratio was large, tb was longer than when the ratio was small; blockade became complete after the partial pressure of the agent in the lipid or nonaqueous phase of the axon membrane became equal to Pblock. The access of these substances to an nonaqueous site was neither pH nor frequency dependent, but in the case of SF6 access did appear to be limited by its molal volume.