Effects of Volatile Anesthetic Agents on Cerebral Cortical Synchronization in Sheep

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Background:The exact neurophysiological mechanisms of anesthetic-induced unconsciousness are not yet fully elucidated. The cortical information integration theory hypothesizes that loss of consciousness during general anesthesia is associated with breakdown of long-distance cortical connectivity across multiple brain regions. However, what is the effect of anesthetics on neural activities at a smaller spatial scale?Methods:The authors analyzed a set of previously published eight-channel electrocorticogram data, obtained from a 14-mm-long linear array of electrodes in eight adult merino sheep during general anesthesia induced by sevoflurane, desflurane, isoflurane, and enflurane. The S-estimator was applied to the bi-channel coherence matrix to construct an overall index called the SI, which is the entropy of the eigenvalues of the cortical coherence for each pair of channels within the multichannel electrocorticographic dataset.Results:The SI values increased ~30–50% from the waking to the burst-suppression states, and returned to baseline during recovery. The anesthetic-induced increase in synchrony was most marked in the α (8–13 Hz) and β (13–30 Hz) frequency bands (P < 0.05). Using prediction probability (PK) analysis, we found a significant correlation between the increase in spatial synchrony (as estimated by the SI at various frequency bands) and anesthetic-induced cortical depression (as estimated by the approximate entropy).Conclusions:The results suggest that it is feasible to use the SI to measure cortical synchrony, and over a local spatial scale of 2–14 mm, synchrony increased during general anesthesia.

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