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Sevoflurane inhibits contraction of uterine smooth muscle from pregnant rats similarly to halothane and isoflurane

Le sévoflurane, pareillement à l’halothane et à l’isoflurane, inhibe la contraction du muscle lisse utérin des rates gravides



The present study was designed to clarify the direct effects of the volatile anesthetics halothane, isoflurane and sevoflurane on oxytocin-induced uterine smooth muscle contraction from pregnant rats.


Longitudinal smooth muscle layers were obtained from pregnant rats. Intracellular concentration of free Ca++ ([Ca++]i) was measured, using a fluorescence technique, simultaneously with muscle tension. Inward Ba++ current (IBa) through voltage-dependent Ca++ channels (VDCCs) was measured using a whole cell patch clamp technique. After incubation with 20 nM oxytocin, halothane, isoflurane or sevoflurane (1, 2, and 3%) was introduced into the tissue bath.


All volatile anesthetics significantly inhibited muscle contraction concomitant with a decrease in [Ca++]i. Volatile anesthetics also inhibited the peak IBa. When the anesthetic concentrations were expressed as multiples of minimum alveolar concentrations, there were no differences in the inhibitory potencies of the three volatile agents tested for muscle tension and VDCC.


Volatile anesthetics halothane, isoflurane and sevoflurane reduce the oxytocin-induced contraction of pregnant uterine smooth muscle. Inhibition of the contraction by the volatile anesthetics is due, at least in part, to the decrease in [Ca++]i, and the decrease in [Ca++]i may be mediated by inhibition of VDCC activity.



La présente étude voulait préciser les effets directs d’anesthésiques volatils, halothane, isoflurane et sévoflurane, sur la contraction du muscle lisse utérin induite par l’oxytocine chez des rates gravides.


Des couches longitudinales de muscle lisse ont été prélevées chez des rates gravides. La concentration intracellulaire de Ca++ [Ca++ ]i) libre a été mesurée par une technique fluorescente, simultanément à la tension musculaire. Le courant entrant de Ba++ (EBa) au travers des canaux calciques potentiel-dépendants Ca++ (CCPD) a été mesuré à l’aide d’une technique de “patch clamp” d’une cellule complète. À la suite de l’incubation avec 20 nM d’oxytocine, l’halothane, l’isoflurane ou le sévoflurane (1, 2 et 3%) a été introduit dans le bain tissulaire.


Les trois anesthésiques volatils ont inhibé la contraction musculaire de façon significative et concomitante à la baisse de [Ca++]i. Ils ont aussi inhibé le EBa maximal. Les concentrations d’anesthésiques exprimées en multiples des concentrations alvéolaires minimales ne présentaient pas de différence de potentiel inhibiteur pour les trois médicaments testés pour la tension musculaire et les CCPD.


Les anesthésiques volatiles halothane, isoflurane et sévoflurane réduisent la contraction induite par l’oxytocine du muscle lisse de l’utérus gravide. Cette inhibition est causée, en partie du moins, par la baisse de [Ca++]i, cette baisse de diminution de [Ca++]i pouvant être le résultat de l’inhibition de l’activité des CCPD.


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Correspondence to Michiaki Yamakage.

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Supported in part by 1) a grant-in-aid (No. 12671489, 2000) for research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, Tokyo, Japan and; 2) an incentive grant (No. III-27, 2000) for research from Uehara Memorial Foundation, Tokyo, Japan.

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Yamakage, M., Tsujiguchi, N., Chen, X. et al. Sevoflurane inhibits contraction of uterine smooth muscle from pregnant rats similarly to halothane and isoflurane. Can J Anesth 49, 62–66 (2002).

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  • Halothane
  • Sevoflurane
  • Oxytocin
  • Volatile Anesthetic
  • Minimum Alveolar Concentration