Effect of Volatile Anesthetic Agents on Endothelium-Dependent Relaxation

  • Gilbert A. Blaise
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 301)


The vasodilatory mechanism of volatile anesthetic agents is complex and not yet fully understood. It is known that the endothelium controls smooth muscle tone as well as its response to most vasoactive substances. The endothelium not only metabolizes vasoactive agents, but it secretes several vasodilators (prostacyclin, EDRF, hyperpolarizing factor) and vasoconstrictors (endothelin, EDCF).1 In the last few years, an effect of volatile anesthetic agents on endothelium-dependent vasodilation has been suspected. Blaise et al. 2 have shown that isoflurane’s attenuation of the contractile response of isolated canine coronary artery rings to 5-hydroxytryptamine and prostaglandin F2α was dependent on the presence of the endothelium. As this attenuation was only slightly reduced by pretreatment of the vascular rings with indomethacin, it was postulated that isoflurane’s effect was mediated through EDRF release or action. Muldoon et al. 3 have shown that halothane reduces the response of precontracted rabbit and canine vascular rings to acetylcholine and bradykinin. They suggest that halothane inhibits the release or the action of EDRF. Our findings were similar and showed that, contrary to isoflurane, halothane attenuates the serotoninergic response of isolated canine coronary artery rings in denuded vessels (without endothelium), but not in intact vessels.4 These preliminary findings suggest a positive interaction of isoflurane and a negative interaction of halothane on endothelium-dependent dilation. Recently, Stone et al. 5 have demonstrated that volatile agents have a biphasic, dose-dependent effect on tension of isolated, preconstricted rat aorta. At lower doses, the tension increased; at higher doses, the isometric force decreased. The increase in tension induced by the volatile agents occured only in vessels with endothelium and was clearly potentiated by indomethacin. These data also suggest that these agents affect endothelium function and prostaglandin synthesis.


Nitric Oxide Nitric Oxide Pertussis Toxin Vascular Ring Volatile Agent 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilbert A. Blaise
    • 1
  1. 1.Department d’AnesthesieUniversite de Montreal, Hopital Notre DameMontrealCanada

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