Modulating role of dopamine on anesthetic requirements

Ira S. Segal, John K. Walton, Ian Irwin, Louis E. DeLanney, George A. Ricaurte, J. William Langston, Mervyn Maze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The influence of dopamine on halothane anesthetic requirements was determined in mice. Halothane anesthetic requirement was defined as the minimum anesthetic concentration (MAC) that prevented 50% animals from moving in response to a supramaximal stimulus. Levodopa (L-DOPA) dose-dependently decreased halothane MAC to a maximum of 49% of control; over the same dose range L-DOPA increased striatal dopamine nearly 4-fold. The MAC-reducing effect of L-DOPA was attenuated by selective antagonism of the D2 dopamine receptor with YM-09151-2 while selective blockade of the D1 dopamine receptor with SCH-23390 did not alter L-DOPA's effect on the MAC for halothane. 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) decreased striatal dopamine by 82% and increased the MAC for halothane by 27%. Repletion of striatal dopamine with L-DOPA, in MPTP-treated mice, restored the MAC for halothane back to the control state. The regression line derived from the plot of hatothane MAC versus striatal dopamine content shows a highly significant correlation between the two variables (r2 = 0.94). These are the first results to suggest that anesthetic requirements can be modulated directly and precisely by increasing or decreasing the content of a single neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 4 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthetics (volatile)
  • Dopamine D receptors
  • Dopamine receptors
  • Halothane
  • Parkinsons disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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