To determine which part of the parasympathetic bronchoconstrictor pathway is most sensitive to depression by general anesthetics, we stimulated different parts of the pathway in dogs after initial anesthesia with chloralose and urethan and then after additional anesthetic drugs. We stimulated the entire reflex pathway by producing apnea or hypoventilation, the sensory pathway by electrically stimulating the proximal ends of cut superior laryngeal nerves, and the motor pathway by stimulating the distal end of a cut cervical vagus nerve. Bronchoconstrictor responses to all stimuli were assessed with a bypassed tracheal segment. When no additional anesthetic was administered, responses to all stimuli increased with time. Small additional doses of anesthetics (thiopental, 1-5 mg/kg; pentobarbital, 1-2 mg/kg; amobarbital, 1-2 mg/kg; or chloralose, 10 mg/kg) decreased responses to reflex and sensory stimulation markedly and reversibly, but they did not affect responses to motor stimulation. Increased doses decreased responses to motor stimulation as well. Our previous study (Skoogh et al., Am. Rev. Respir. Dis. 123: 202, 1981) showed that barbiturates depress parasympathetic ganglionic synapses; the present study suggests that central nervous system synapses may be even more sensitive to depression by general anesthetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1982


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