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The mechanisms through which general anaesthetics, an extremely diverse group of drugs, cause reversible loss of consciousness have been a long-standing mystery. Gradually, a relatively small number of important molecular targets have emerged, and how these drugs act at the molecular level is becoming clearer. Finding the link between these molecular(More)
Although general anesthetics are often said to be nonspecific agents, it is likely that they act at a much more restricted set of target sites than commonly believed. The traditional view has been that the primary targets are lipid portions of nerve membranes, but recent evidence shows that the effects on lipid bilayers of clinically relevant levels of(More)
We investigated the role of regionally discrete GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the sedative response to pharmacological agents that act on GABA(A) receptors (muscimol, propofol and pentobarbital; 'GABAergic agents') and to ketamine, a general anesthetic that does not affect GABA(A) receptors. Behavioral studies in rats showed that the sedative(More)
BACKGROUND When performing experiments at room temperature with volatile general anesthetics and in vitro mammalian preparations (such as isolated neurons), the question arises as to which concentrations of anesthetics are "clinically relevant." Different choices can lead to different interpretations of the anesthetic sensitivities of putative target sites.(More)
BACKGROUND The authors investigated whether the sedative, or hypnotic, action of the general anesthetic dexmedetomidine (a selective alpha -adrenoceptor agonist) activates endogenous nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep-promoting pathways. METHODS c-Fos expression in sleep-promoting brain nuclei was assessed in rats using immunohistochemistry and(More)
Human serum albumin (HSA) is the most abundant protein in the circulatory system. Its principal function is to transport fatty acids, but it is also capable of binding a great variety of metabolites and drugs. Despite intensive efforts, the detailed structural basis of fatty acid binding to HSA has remained elusive. We have now determined the crystal(More)
Two-pore-domain K+ (K(2P)) channels are a diverse and highly regulated superfamily of channels that are thought to provide baseline regulation of membrane excitability. Of these, the TREK channels are expressed highly in the human CNS, and can be activated by temperature, membrane stretch and internal acidosis. In addition, TREK channels are sensitively(More)
BACKGROUND Firefly luciferase is a 62 kDa protein that catalyzes the production of light. In the presence of MgATP and molecular oxygen, the enzyme oxidizes its substrate, firefly luciferin, emitting yellow-green light. The reaction proceeds through activation of the substrate to form an adenylate intermediate. Firefly luciferase shows extensive sequence(More)
BACKGROUND Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are members of a superfamily of fast neurotransmitter-gated receptor channels that includes the gamma-aminobutyric acidA (GABAA), glycine and serotonin type 3 (5-HT3) receptors. Most previous work on the interactions of general anesthetics with nAChRs has involved the muscle-type receptor. The authors(More)