Differential Effects of Thiopental and Pentobarbital on Spinal GABAA Receptors

Xiao-Bing Zhang; Neng Gong; Meng-Ya Wang
October 2008
Neurochemical Research;Oct2008, Vol. 33 Issue 10, p2159
Academic Journal
Abstract  General anesthetics thiopental and pentobarbital possess very similar chemical structures whereas their clinical potency is quite different. The underlying molecular mechanism is not fully understood. This study was designed to assess the differential effects of thiopental and pentobarbital on GABAA receptors of mechanically dissociated rat spinal dorsal horn neurons by using whole-cell patch-clamp technique. Pentobarbital, at a concentration of 30 μM, which markedly enhanced sub-saturated GABA-induced current (I GABA), had no effect on thiopental-induced maximal current. Similarly, the pentobarbital-induced maximal current was also not affected by 30 μM thiopental. Moreover, a linear summation of thiopental-induced maximal current and pentobarbital-induced sub-maximal current was observed. In addition, pentobarbital failed to further enhance I GABA in the presence of thiopental at a concentration with maximal modulatory effects on I GABA, and vice versa. Our results thus suggest that thiopental and pentobarbital might exert the GABA mimetic effects independently, but share a common mechanism to produce the GABA modulatory effects.


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