Disruption of frontal–parietal connectivity during conscious sedation by propofol administration

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The sedative state is a transitional state from wakefulness to general anesthesia. However, little is understood regarding the mechanism of conscious sedation, different from general anesthesia while maintaining wakefulness. In this study, we aimed to investigate changes in functional connectivity of the parietal–frontal network, implicated in wakefulness during conscious sedation induced by propofol infusion. The electroencephalography was obtained at the frontal and parietal areas of adult volunteers who maintain wakefulness during low-dose propofol infusion (1.5 mg/kg/h) over 1 h. Spectral Granger causality (GC) (δ, θ, α, β, and γ frequency bands) and time-domain GC were calculated during each stage of awake (before propofol administration), sedation, and recovery (after discontinuation of propofol). We also calculated the phase-locking index and compared it with GC during each stage. A decrease in GC from the frontal to parietal areas was observed particularly in the low-frequency bands during propofol administration. Contrary to the GC changes in the frontoparietal direction, GC from the parietal to frontal areas was increased in the high-frequency bands during propofol administration and significantly decreased after discontinuation of propofol. In summary, we showed that frontal–parietal neural networks were significantly changed differently by the frequency of the brain rhythm and the directions of connections during sedation by propofol administration. Our result suggests that the alteration of brain interaction may induce sedative state lying between awake and general anesthesia.

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