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Volatile anesthetics modulate inflammation in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). However, it is unclear whether they act differently depending on ARDS etiology. We hypothesized that the in vivo and in vitro effects of sevoflurane and isoflurane on lung damage would not differ in pulmonary (p) and extrapulmonary (exp) ARDS.Twenty-four Wistar rats were randomized to undergo general anesthesia (1-2 minutes) with sevoflurane and isoflurane. Animals were then further randomized to receive Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) intratracheally (ARDSp) or intraperitoneally (ARDSexp), and 24 hours after ARDS induction, they were subjected to 60 minutes of sevoflurane or isoflurane anesthesia at 1 minimal alveolar concentration. The primary outcome measure was interleukin (IL)-6 mRNA expression in lung tissue. Secondary outcomes included gas exchange, lung mechanics, histology, and mRNA expression of IL-10, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor-2 (Nrf2), surfactant protein (SP)-B, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, epithelial amiloride-sensitive Na+-channel subunits α and γ, and sodium-potassium-adenosine-triphosphatase pump subunits α1 (α1-Na,K-ATPase) and β1 (β1-Na,K-ATPase). Additional ARDSp and ARDSexp animals (n = 6 per group) were anesthetized with sodium thiopental but not mechanically ventilated (NV) to serve as controls. Separately, to identify how sevoflurane and isoflurane act on type II epithelial cells, A549 human lung epithelial cells were stimulated with LPS (20 µg/mL) for 24 hours, and SP-B expression was quantified after further exposure to sevoflurane or isoflurane (1 minimal alveolar concentration ) for 60 minutes.In ARDSp, sevoflurane reduced IL-6 expression to a greater degree than isoflurane (P = .04). Static lung elastance (P = .0049) and alveolar collapse (P = .033) were lower in sevoflurane than isoflurane, whereas Nrf2 (P = .036), SP-B (P = .042), and β1-Na,K-ATPase (P = .038) expressions were higher in sevoflurane. In ARDSexp, no significant differences were observed in lung mechanics, alveolar collapse, or molecular parameters between sevoflurane and isoflurane. In vitro, SP-B expression was higher in sevoflurane than isoflurane (P = .026).Compared with isoflurane, sevoflurane did not affect lung inflammation in ARDSexp, but it did reduce lung inflammation in ARDSp.