Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 2005, 70, 539-549

The Site of Action of General Anesthetics - A Chemical Approach

Camille Sandorfy

Département de chimie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, H3C 3J7, Canada


Recently Urban (Br. J. Anaesth. 2002, 89, 167) and Trudell (Br. J. Anaesth. 2002, 89, 32) assessed the present state of the art in anesthesiological research. This article is an attempt to add to the discussion some ideas from the chemist's point of view. General anesthesia is a matter of molecular associations. Among the intermolecular interactions that can be involved, weak hydrogen bonding and van der Waals forces are believed to be most important. A pluralistic view is proposed, thereby different anesthetics can choose different interactions in conformity with their chemical structure. This can involve proteins, lipids, and sugars. Special attention is given to glycoproteins and glycosphingolipids. A review with 90 references.

Keywords: Anesthesia; Weak hydrogen bonds; Protein-carbohydrate interactions; Glycoproteins; Glycoconjugates; Glycosphingolipids; Ab initio calculations.

References: 90 live references.