Using Drosophila to Understand General Anesthesia: From Synapses to Behavior

Methods Enzymol. 2018:602:153-176. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2018.02.003. Epub 2018 Mar 5.


Investigating mechanisms of general anesthesia requires access to multiple levels of neuronal function, from effects at individual synapses to responses in behaving animals. Drosophila melanogaster provides an excellent model to test different theories for general anesthesia because it offers robust methods for testing local as well as global target processes, in an animal that is similarly impacted by these diverse drugs as humans. Here, we outline methods to quantify two such endpoints, neurotransmission and behavioral responsiveness, focusing on the intravenous drug propofol.

Keywords: Behavioral responsiveness; Drosophila neuromuscular junction; Electrophysiology; Focal macropatch recording; Propofol; Synaptic transmission.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General / methods*
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Drosophila melanogaster / drug effects*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Electrophysiology / instrumentation
  • Electrophysiology / methods*
  • Female
  • Larva / drug effects
  • Larva / physiology
  • Microelectrodes
  • Models, Animal
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / instrumentation
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods
  • Propofol / pharmacology
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*


  • Anesthetics, Intravenous
  • Propofol