Macroscopic sites of anesthetic action: Brain versus spinal cord

Joseph F. Antognini, Earl Carstens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


1. General anesthesia is achieved by anesthetic action in the central nervous system (CNS). 2. Whereas amnesia and unconsciousness are due to anesthetic action in the brain, recent evidence suggests that immobility in response to a noxious stimulus is achieved by anesthetic effects in the spinal cord. The putative spinal cord site(s) include dorsal horn cells and motor neurons. 3. The extent to which anesthetic action in the brain influences the spinal cord probably varies among anesthetics. Furthermore, anesthetics can indirectly influence the brain by their actions within the spinal cord, i.e. by modulating ascending transmission of sensory information. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalToxicology Letters
StatePublished - Nov 23 1998


  • Anesthesia
  • Brain
  • Bypass
  • Isoflurane
  • Mechanisms
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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