Specific Actions of Halothane, Isoflurane, and Desflurane on Sympathetic Activity and A [Greek small letter delta] and C Somatosympathetic Reflexes Recorded in Renal Nerves in Dogs

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This was a study of the relative effects on directly recorded sympathetic activity of desflurane, isoflurane, and halothane.


Renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) was recorded with bipolar electrodes in renal nerves exposed retroperitoneally in anesthetized ([Greek small letter alpha]-chloralose), paralyzed (succinylcholine), and artificially ventilated dogs. Somatosympathetic responses were evoked by supramaximal electrical stimulation of radial nerves (0.33 Hz, 30 V, 0.5 ms). Spontaneous and evoked activity were rectified, averaged, and integrated to allow quantitative comparison of the effects of 3–12% desflurane, 0.6–2.4% isoflurane, and 0.4–1.6% halothane.


Increasing concentrations of isoflurane progressively depressed mean RSNA, A [Greek small letter delta], and C reflexes by 40% (P < 0.01), 50% (P < 0.01) and 70% (P < 0.001) respectively at 2.4% concentration. Halothane depressed both reflexes equally by approximately 60% (P < 0.01) at 1.6% concentration, without significant depression of spontaneous RSNA. Desflurane increased and subsequently decreased RSNA by 37% (P < 0.02) and 65% (P < 0.001) at concentrations of 6% and 12% respectively, and although somatosympathetic reflexes remained unchanged up to 9%, both were depressed equally by 70% (P < 0.01) at 12% concentration.


After equilibration, lower concentrations of desflurane remained excitatory, but, like isoflurane, higher concentrations depressed RSNA. The effect of halothane on RSNA was insignificant. Isoflurane depressed C more than A [Greek small letter delta] somatosympathetic reflexes, which is uncorrelated with lipid solubility because desflurane and halothane, which have the highest and lowest minimum alveolar concentration, respectively, depressed both equally.

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