Molecular biology in cardiovascular anaesthesia

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Purpose of review

The last few years have seen rapid technical developments of methods in molecular biology which are increasingly used as powerful tools in experimental and clinical research. A basic knowledge of these techniques becomes increasingly important for the clinically working anaesthesiologist in order to understand research publications and the molecular description of disease processes and their diagnosis.

Recent findings

Methods like DNA microarrays, PCR and western blotting are increasingly used in experimental and clinical studies investigating cellular signalling mechanisms of phenomena such as anaesthetic-induced preconditioning. So far, a complete picture of the underlying molecular mechanisms of anaesthetic-induced preconditioning still cannot be drawn. Recent investigations, however, focus on molecular targets like KATP channels, mitochondrial permeability transition pore, mitogen-activated protein kinases and protein kinase C and B/PI3K, and thereby strongly contribute to a completion of the signal-transduction picture of anaesthetic-induced preconditioning.


This review will give an overview over the available basic methods of molecular biology. Using anaesthetic-induced preconditioning as an example, we will summarize the very recent findings on the underlying molecular mechanisms.

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