Translational Stroke Research

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 358–367 | Cite as

Anesthesia in Experimental Stroke Research

  • Ulrike Hoffmann
  • Huaxin Sheng
  • Cenk Ayata
  • David S. WarnerEmail author
Original Article


Anesthetics have enabled major advances in development of experimental models of human stroke. Yet, their profound pharmacologic effects on neural function can confound the interpretation of experimental stroke research. Anesthetics have species-, drug-, and dose-specific effects on cerebral blood flow and metabolism, neurovascular coupling, autoregulation, ischemic depolarizations, excitotoxicity, inflammation, neural networks, and numerous molecular pathways relevant for stroke outcome. Both preconditioning and postconditioning properties have been described. Anesthetics also modulate systemic arterial blood pressure, lung ventilation, and thermoregulation, all of which may interact with the ischemic insult as well as the therapeutic interventions. These confounds present a dilemma. Here, we provide an overview of the anesthetic mechanisms of action and molecular and physiologic effects on factors relevant to stroke outcomes that can guide the choice and optimization of the anesthetic regimen in experimental stroke.


Anesthesia Anesthetic Brain Ischemia Stroke 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (1R21NS087157–02).

Conflict of Interest


Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrike Hoffmann
    • 1
  • Huaxin Sheng
    • 1
  • Cenk Ayata
    • 2
  • David S. Warner
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Multidisciplinary Neuroprotection Laboratories, Department of AnesthesiologyDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Neurovascular Research Laboratory, Departments of Radiology and NeurologyMassachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolCharlestownUSA

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