To explore the hypothesis that nitrous oxide stimulates the β-endorphin system in vivo, rats were exposed to nitrous oxide/oxygen at variable concentrations for one hour. β-Endorphin concentration at sites along the neuraxis functionally involved with analgesia was elevated in nitrous oxide-exposed animals. The increase in β-endorphin concentration was statistically significant at nitrous oxide concentrations of 60 and 80%. This elevation of β-endorphin levels depended on the concentration of nitrous oxide delivered rather than on the duration of exposure. With cessation of nitrous oxide anesthesia, β-endorphin concentration returned to control levels within 30 minutes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery