Halothane is less suppressive than pentobarbital on reflex and neural activation of pancreatic F-cell

Peter J Havel, T. L. Paquette, G. J. Taborsky

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20 Scopus citations


To determine the suitability of halothane anesthesia for studies of parasympathetic control of the endocrine pancreas in dogs, we assessed the effect of halothane on reflex, direct neural, and direct chemical activation of the parasympathetic input to the islet. Levels or output of pancreatic polypeptide (PP), an islet hormone under predominant cholinergic influence, were used as an indicator of the degree of parasympathetic activation and its potential suppression by anesthesia. Reflex stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system by 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) in dogs anesthetized with halothane (0.8%) caused a fourfold increase in plasma PP levels, equivalent to the response in conscious dogs. In contrast, 2-DG at this dose and at a threefold higher dose did not alter PP levels in dogs anesthetized with pentobarbital (30 mg/kg iv), suggesting that halothane at this dose is not suppressive and that pentobarbital is very suppressive on reflex activation of the parasympathetic nerves to the pancreas. Bilateral electrical stimulation of the cervical vagi in halothane-anesthetized dogs elicited a sixfold increase in the pancreatic output of PP. The same stimulation caused only a twofold increase of PP output in pentobarbital-anesthetized dogs. These data suggest that halothane is also less inhibitory than pentobarbital on either peripheral neurotransmission or pancreatic F-cell responsiveness. The effect of direct activation of the F-cell by bethanechol did not differ between the two anesthesias. Therefore, the attenuated PP response to vagal stimulation in pentobarbital-anesthetized dogs is probably due to an action of pentobarbital on peripheral neurotransmission, perhaps at the intrapancreatic parasympathetic ganglia. Together these data suggest that halothane is a more suitable anesthetic than pentobarbital for use in animal experiments studying reflex or electrical activation of the parasympathetic input to the pancreatic F-cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology


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