Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 55, Issue 10, pp 1278–1303

General anaesthetic actions on ligand-gated ion channels

  • M. D. Krasowski
  • N. L. Harrison

Abstract.

The molecular mechanisms of general anaesthetics have remained largely obscure since their introduction into clinical practice just over 150 years ago. This review describes the actions of general anaesthetics on mammalian neurotransmitter-gated ion channels. As a result of research during the last several decades, ligand-gated ion channels have emerged as promising molecular targets for the central nervous system effects of general anaesthetics. The last 10 years have witnessed an explosion of studies of anaesthetic modulation of recombinant ligand-gated ion channels, including recent studies which utilize chimeric and mutated receptors to identify regions of ligand-gated ion channels important for the actions of general anaesthetics. Exciting future directions include structural biology and gene-targeting approaches to further the understanding of general anaesthetic molecular mechanisms.

Key words. General anaesthesia; ligand-gated ion channels; GABA; glutamate; acetylcholine; glycine; serotonin; electrophysiology. 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Krasowski
    • 1
  • N. L. Harrison
    • 1
  1. 1.Committee on Neurobiology, University of Chicago, Whitman Laboratory, 915 East 57th Street, Chicago (Illinois 60637, USA), e-mail: kra3@harper.uchicago.eduUS
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences, University of Chicago, Whitman Laboratory, 915 East 57th Street, Chicago (Illinois 60637, USA)US
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, University of Chicago, Whitman Laboratory, 915 East 57th Street, Chicago (Illinois 60637, USA), Fax +1 773 702 4791US

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