Propofol and nociception

Earl Carstens, Joseph F. Antognini, Kenichi Takechi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Propofol (2,6-diisopropylphenol) is an injectable agent that is commonly used for general anesthesia. In addition to its central nervous system depressant action, propofol may exhibit temporary analgesia although this has been debated. Several studies have reported analgesic effects of subhypnotic doses of propofol on pain perception in humans. Moreover, some recent clinical studies have reported that surgery patients receiving propofol anesthesia experienced reduced postoperative pain. These findings are in marked contrast to the well-known algesic effects of propofol, which induces pain upon intravenous injection or intradermal injection in humans and elicits nocifensive behavior in mice. Recent experiments also demonstrate that propofol directly activates the thermosensitive transient receptor potential (TRP) channels TRPV1 and TRPA1 , which are well-known receptors involved in nociception. Based on 3-compartment models of drug pharmacokinetics, it would be expected that propofol, which is highly lipid-soluble, would be cleared more slowly from peripheral tissues after the infusion is stopped. Any residual propofol, even at subhypnotic concentrations, might thus be able to reduce post-surgical pain. In this chapter, we discuss new research results concerning propofol and its effect on nociception, as well as the potential beneficial effect of propofol on post-operative pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPropofol: Pharmacokinetics, Medical Uses and Potential Health Effects
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781631174377, 9781631174360
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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