British journal of anaesthesia

Role of coerulean noradrenergic neurones in general anaesthesia in rats.

PMID 21965049


Central noradrenergic neurones have a role in alertness, analgesia, and thermoregulation; these neurones are also involved in the mechanism of anaesthesia. Locus coeruleus neurones innervate various central nervous regions including the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, and are responsible for wakefulness and analgesia. We hypothesized that these neurones are also involved in both activation of the γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A)) receptor and inhibition of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated anaesthesia. Forty-seven male rats were used to compare duration of anaesthesia before and 10 days after noradrenergic neurone depletion after intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine (DSP-4; 0, 5, and 50 mg kg(-1)). The animals received i.p. thiopental (GABA anaesthetic, 45 mg kg(-1)) or ketamine (NMDA anaesthetic, 100 mg kg(-1)). We also tested the effects of coerulean noradrenergic neurone depletion on i.p. ketamine analgesia (15 mg kg(-1)) using the hot-plate test in a further 21 male rats. At the end of each experiment, norepinephrine contents in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus were measured. I.P. DSP-4 5 and 50 mg kg(-1) significantly decreased ketamine anaesthesia duration by 12.7% and 22.4%, increased thiopental anaesthesia duration by 10.8% and 24.5%, and reduced ketamine-increased hot-plate latency by 55.2% and 68.1%, respectively. In addition, i.p. DSP-4 5 and 50 mg kg(-1) significantly reduced norepinephrine contents in coerulean brain regions by ∼20% and ∼75%, respectively. There were significant correlations between norepinephrine contents in coerulean brain regions and anaesthesia durations and ketamine analgesia. The present data indicate that coerulean noradrenergic neurones may be responsible for both GABA- and NMDA-mediated anaesthetic actions.

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N-(2-Chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine hydrochloride, ≥98%, solid
C11H15BrClN · HCl