Sevoflurane excites nociceptive sensory neurons by inhibiting K+ conductances in rats

Won Tae Lee, Michiko Nakamura, Jin Hwa Cho, Il Sung Jang

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4 Scopus citations


Sevoflurane, which is preferentially used as a day-case anesthetic based on its low blood solubility, acts on the central nervous system and exerts analgesic effects. However, it still remains unknown whether sevoflurane affects the excitability of nociceptive sensory neurons. Therefore, we conducted this study to examine the effects of sevoflurane on the excitability of small-sized dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons of rats using the whole-cell patch-clamp technique. In a voltage-clamp condition, sevoflurane elicited the membrane current in a concentration-dependent manner, in which the reversal potential was similar to the equilibrium potential of K+. In a current-clamp condition, sevoflurane directly depolarized the membrane potentials in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, at a clinically relevant concentration, sevoflurane decreased the threshold for action potential generation. These findings suggest that sevoflurane acts on the leak K+ channels to increase the excitability of DRG neurons. Sevoflurane increased the half-width of single action potentials, which resulted from the inhibition of voltage-gated K+ currents, including the fast inactivating A-type and non-inactivating delayed rectifier K+ currents. Our study indicates that sevoflurane could exhibit pronociceptive effects on nociceptive sensory neurons by inhibiting K+ conductances.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135951
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - 21 Jun 2021


  • K channels
  • Nociceptive neurons
  • Patch clamp
  • Sevoflurane
  • Volatile anesthetics


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