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New clue to how anesthesia works

Anesthesia, long considered a blessing to patients and surgeons, has been a mystery for much of its 160-plus-year history in the operating room.

[Cell Membrane and Anesthesia]
This is a schematic of a representing a simple cell membrane. A new study in The shows that activity of ion channel proteins, which are important for cell-to-cell communication, is markedly reduced during anesthesia.
Credit: Dr. Olaf Andersen


Volatile anesthetics inhibit sodium channels without altering bulk lipid bilayer properties. Herold, K.F., et al. 2014. J. Gen. Physiol. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201411172

Rockefeller University Press