Anesthetics have enabled major advances in development of experimental models of human stroke. Yet, their profound pharmacologic effects on neural function can confound the interpretation of experimental stroke research. Anesthetics have species-, drug-, and dose-specific effects on cerebral blood flow and metabolism, neurovascular coupling, autoregulation, ischemic depolarizations, excitotoxicity, inflammation, neural networks, and numerous molecular pathways relevant for stroke outcome. Both preconditioning and postconditioning properties have been described. Anesthetics also modulate systemic arterial blood pressure, lung ventilation, and thermoregulation, all of which may interact with the ischemic insult as well as the therapeutic interventions. These confounds present a dilemma. Here, we provide an overview of the anesthetic mechanisms of action and molecular and physiologic effects on factors relevant to stroke outcomes that can guide the choice and optimization of the anesthetic regimen in experimental stroke.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine