On the Action of General Anesthetics on Cellular Function: Barbiturate Alters the Exocytosis of Catecholamines in a Model Cell System
Journal article, 2018
General anesthetics are essential in many areas, however, the cellular mechanisms of anesthetic-induced amnesia and unconsciousness are incompletely understood. Exocytosis is the main mechanism of signal transduction and neuronal communication through the release of chemical transmitters from vesicles to the extracellular environment. Here, we use disk electrodes placed on top of PC12 cells to show that treatment with barbiturate induces fewer molecules released during exocytosis and changes the event dynamics perhaps by inducing a less stable fusion pore that is prone to close faster during partial exocytosis. Larger events are essentially abolished. However, use of intracellular vesicle impact electrochemical cytometry using a nano-tip electrode inserted into a cell shows that the distribution of vesicle transmitter content does not change after barbiturate treatment. This indicates that barbiturate selectively alters the pore size of larger events or perhaps differentially between types of vesicles. Alteration of exocytosis in this manner could be linked to the effects of general anesthetics on memory loss.