PloS one

The Differential Effects of Anesthetics on Bacterial Behaviors.

PMID 28099463


Volatile anesthetics have been in clinical use for a long period of time and are considered to be promiscuous by presumably interacting with several ion channels in the central nervous system to produce anesthesia. Because ion channels and their existing evolutionary analogues, ion transporters, are very important in various organisms, it is possible that volatile anesthetics may affect some bacteria. In this study, we hypothesized that volatile anesthetics could affect bacterial behaviors. We evaluated the impact of anesthetics on bacterial growth, motility (swimming and gliding) and biofilm formation of four common bacterial pathogens in vitro. We found that commonly used volatile anesthetics isoflurane and sevoflurane affected bacterial motility and biofilm formation without any effect on growth of the common bacterial pathogens studied here. Using available Escherichia coli gene deletion mutants of ion transporters and in silico molecular docking, we suggested that these altered behaviors might be at least partly via the interaction of volatile anesthetics with ion transporters.