Commentary Open Access
Volume 2 | Issue 2 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.33696/Neurol.2.037

Inhalational Anaesthetics: An Update on Mechanisms of Action and Toxicity

  • 1Department of Anaesthesiology, Hospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU), Central Campus, Nussbaumstreet 20, 80336 Munich, Germany
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Corresponding Author

Jan Jedlicka, Jan.Jedlicka@med.uni-muenchen.de

Received Date: March 23, 2021

Accepted Date: April 15, 2021


Inhalational anaesthetics have been used for induction and maintenance of general anaesthesia for more than 150 years. In human medicine desflurane, sevoflurane, and isoflurane are commonly used. All of them are fluorinated ether derivatives. Isoflurane is also chlorinated. Measurements of the expiratory gas fraction are used to guide anaesthesia via the MAC-concept. Specific partition coefficients outline the pharmacokinetic properties of inhalative anaesthetics. Mechanisms of action include specific interactions at numerous receptors of the central nervous system including inhibitory and excitatory circuits. The thesis of an unspecific interaction of inhalational anaesthetics with the cell membrane was abolished and is replaced by a theory describing a specific interaction between inhalational anaesthetics the cell membrane and a specific receptor. Organ toxicity of the modern inhalational anaesthetics is considered minimal. The impact of anaesthetics on brain development appears absent today. However, further studies are necessary to definitely answer this question.


Volatile anaesthetics, Anaesthesia gases, Sevoflurane, Desflurane, Blood-gas coefficient

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