Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
PZ HTL SA
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC

Why Does Inhaling Anesthetics Cause Unconsciousness?

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 04 Apr 2012
Image: The effects of Halothane on lipid rafts (Photo courtesy of NIST).
Image: The effects of Halothane on lipid rafts (Photo courtesy of NIST).
A new study suggests that the answer to this age-old question may lie in the effect of anesthesia on the organization of lipids in the cell's outer membrane, potentially altering the ability to send signals along nerve cells.

Researchers at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD, USA) set out to find out how exactly inhaled anesthetics interact with protein ion channels--large proteins embedded in the relatively small lipid molecules forming the membrane--which are responsible for conducting electrical impulses along the myelin sheath of the nerve cells. They found that while a cell membrane is a highly fluid film made of many different kinds of lipid molecules, the region immediately surrounding an ion channel often consists of a single type of lipids that form a sort of "raft" that is more ordered and less fluid then the rest of the membrane.

When prior research demonstrated that disrupting these lipid rafts could affect a channel's function, the researchers conducted X-ray and neutron diffraction studies of a binary lipid membrane that demonstrated that halothane (at physiological concentrations) produces a pronounced redistribution of lipids between domains of different lipid types, as identified by different lamellar d-spacing and isotope composition. In contrast, dichlorohexafluorocyclobutane (F6), a halogenated nonanesthetic, does not produce such significant effects. According to the researchers, these findings demonstrate a specific effect of inhalational anesthetics on mixing phase equilibria of a lipid mixture. The study was published on February 21, 2012, in Langmuir.

“A better fundamental understanding of inhaled anesthetics could allow us to design better ones with fewer side effects,” concluded lead author Hirsh Nanda, PhD, and colleagues of the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). “How these chemicals work in the body is a scientific mystery that stretches back to the Civil War.”

Related Links:

US National Institute of Standards and Technology



RANDOX LABORATORIES
BIOSIGMA S.R.L.
SLAS - Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening
comments powered by Disqus

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel
Image: The Human Protein Atlas is tissue-based map of the human proteome (Photo courtesy of the Human Protein Atlas).

Open Source Tissue-Based Map of the Human Proteome Launched

Constructed with 13 million annotated images, an interactive database has been created to show the distribution of proteins in all major tissues and organs of the human body. Ten years after the completion... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel

Omega 3 Found to Improve Behavior in Children with ADHD

Supplements of the fatty acids omega 3 and 6 can help children and adolescents who have a specific kind of have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Moreover, these findings indicate that a customized cognitive training program can improve problem behavior in children with ADHD. Statistics show that 3%–6%... Read more

Biochemistry

view channel

Blocking Enzyme Switch Turns Off Tumor Growth in T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Researchers recently reported that blocking the action of an enzyme “switch” needed to activate tumor growth is emerging as a practical strategy for treating T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. An estimated 25% of the 500 US adolescents and young adults diagnosed yearly with this aggressive disease fail to respond to... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel

e-Incubator Technology Provides Real-Time Imaging of Bioengineered Tissues in a Controlled Unit

A new e-incubator, an innovative miniature incubator that is compatible with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), enables scientists to grow tissue-engineered constructs under a controlled setting and to study their growth and development in real time without risk of contamination or damage. Offering the potential to test... Read more

Business

view channel

Two Industry Partnerships Initiated to Fuel Neuroscience Research

Faster, more complex neural research is now attainable by combining technology from two research companies. Blackrock Microsystems, LLC (Salt Lake City, UT, USA), a developer of neuroscience research equipment, announced partnerships with two neuroscience research firms—PhenoSys, GmbH (Berlin, Germany) and NAN Instruments, Ltd.... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.