The effect of anaesthetics on the uptake and release of gamma-aminobutyrate and D-aspartate in rat brain slices

Br J Pharmacol. 1981 Jul;73(3):681-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1981.tb16803.x.


1 The effect of various concentrations of thiopentone, pentobarbitone, methohexitone, hydroxydione, alphaxalone/alphadolone, ketamine, alpha-chloralose, and urethane on the transport of radiolabelled gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and D-aspartate was investigated. 2 Uptake of the amino acids was weakly inhibited, if at all, by the anaesthetics and it is unlikely that such effects contribute significantly to their physiological function. 3 The spontaneous efflux of GABA and D-aspartate was not detectably altered by any of the drugs tested. 4 Thiopentone, pentobarbitone, methohexitone and hydroxydione inhibited K+-stimulated GABA and D-aspartate release. The other anaesthetics had no effect on K+-stimulated amino acid release. 5 The rank order of potency of the inhibitors of K+-stimulated amino acid release did not correlate with their anaesthetic potency. Furthermore not all inhibitors appeared to be very effective at anaesthetic concentrations. 6 It is concluded that although it is possible that inhibition of excitatory transmitter release may be involved in the anaesthetic action of some anaesthetics, for many of the substances tested in this study such as mechanism does not appear to be implicated.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism*
  • Barbiturates / pharmacology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Potassium / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / drug effects
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • Anesthetics
  • Barbiturates
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Aspartic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Potassium
  • Calcium