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Inhalation anesthetics produce damage by disrupting intracellular calcium homeostasis

Posted Oct 05 2009 10:03pm

Huafeng Wei continues his investigations into inhaled agent toxicity.   Using chicken lymphocytes he demonstrated that isoflurane, desflurane and sevoflurane at 2 MAC for 24 hours produced cell damage by increasing cytosolic calcium.   The calcium came from the endoplasmic reticulum.   In IP3 deficient lymphocytes this damage calcium translocation and cell damage did not occur (IP3 is a calcium channel located on the endoplasmic reticulum).   Isoflurane had a much greater effect than did desflurane or sevoflurane.   The clinical significance of these findings are as yet not clear.   The doses and duration of exposure was high for all three agents.   However from a mechanistic viewpoint these findings add to our understanding of the effect of inhaled anesthetics on intracellular calcium control (Yang H et al: Inhalational anesthetics induce cell damage by disruption of intracellular calcium homeostasis with different potencies.   Anesthesiology 2008;109: 1 – 8).


David S. Smith, M.D., Ph.D.

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