Protective effects of volatile agents against methacholine-induced bronchoconstriction in rats

Walid Habre, Ferenc Peták, Peter D. Sly, Zoltán Hantos, Denis R. Morel

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Background: The protective properties of common volatile agents against generalized lung constriction have previously been addressed only via estimations of parameters that combine airway and tissue mechanics. Their effectiveness in preventing airway constriction have not been compared systematically. Therefore, the authors investigated the abilities of halothane, isoflurane, sevoflurane, and desflurane to provide protection against airway constriction induced by methacholine. Methods: Low-frequency pulmonary impedance data were collected in open-chest rats under baseline conditions and during three consecutive intravenous infusions of methacholine (32 μg · kg-1 · min-1) while the animals were anesthetized with intravenous pentobarbital (control group). Methacholine challenges were performed in four other groups of rats, first during intravenous anesthesia and then repeated during the inhalation of halothane, isoflurane, sevoflurane, or desflurane at concentrations of 1 and 2 minimum alveolar concentration (MAC). Airway resistance and inertance, parenchymal damping, and elastance were estimated from the impedance data by model fitting. Results: The methacholine-induced increases in airway resistance during intravenous pentobarbital anesthesia (204 ± 53%) were markedly and significantly (P < 0.005) reduced by 1-MAC doses of halothane (80 ± 48%), isoflurane (112 ± 59%), sevoflurane (68 ± 34%), and desflurane (96 ± 34%), with no significant difference between the gases applied. Increasing the concentration to 2 MAC did not lead to any significant further protection against the increase in airway resistance. Conclusions: These data demonstrate that isoflurane, sevoflurane, and desflurane are as effective as the widely accepted halothane in protecting against methacholine-induced airway constriction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-353
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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