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The myocardial negative inotropic effects of desflurane are less pronounced than those of other halogenated anesthetics, partly because of intramyocardial catecholamine store release. However, the effects of desflurane on aging myocardium are unknown, whereas aging is known to be associated with an attenuation of catecholamine responsiveness.The effects of desflurane (1.9–9.3 vol%) were studied in left ventricular papillary muscle of adult and senescent rats (29°C; 0.5 mm Ca2+; stimulation frequency 12 pulses/min). The inotropic effects were compared under low and high loads, using the maximum unloaded shortening velocity and maximum isometric active force, and without or with α- and β-adrenoceptor blockade.Desflurane induced a moderate positive inotropic effect in adult rats but a negative inotropic effect in senescent rats. After α- and β-adrenoceptor blockade, desflurane induced a comparable negative inotropic effect in adult and senescent rats. No lusitropic effect under low load was observed, whereas desflurane induced a slight but significant positive lusitropic effect under high load similar between the two groups of rats. This positive effect was abolished by adrenoceptor blockade.The authors’ study suggests that desflurane does not induce significant intramyocardial catecholamine release in senescent myocardium, a result that should be integrated in the well-known alteration in the catecholamine response during aging.