Nigel Foden n.foden at
Wed Oct 16 11:42:32 EST 1996

> Charles Henri Malbert (malbert at wrote:
> : Hello,
> : We are looking for the receptor type on which propofol is binding to and
> : (ultimately) act through.
> : Thanks in advance
> : --
> : Dr C.H Malbert
> : Unite de controle de l'ingestion et des flux digestifs
> : Station de Recherches Porcines, 35590 Saint gilles, France
> : Tel: (33) 99 28 50 71
> : Fax: (33) 99 28 50 80.
> Dr. Malbert,
	You should be a little careful of people giving 'answers' to simply 
put questions.  Propofol may bind to many receptor subtypes, and produce 
actions at most of them (opioid, GABAa, etc.).  It is a great leap to say 
therefore that an anaesthetic agent acts *ultimately* through a particular 
single receptor type.  If you are entering anaesthetic research I cannot 
recommend too strongly the following references, and the groups that 
produced them:

[1] Franks NP and Lieb WR.  Nature 367, 607-614, 1994.  A good recent review 
of possibilities for molecular 'targets' in anaesthesia

[2] MacIver MB and Roth SH.  Inhalational anaesthetics exhibit pathway 
specific and differential actions on hippocampal synaptic responses in vitro. 
British Journal of Anaesthesia 60, 680-691, 1988.  A paper describing how in 
a simple experimental system very similar molecules can act in dissimilar 

[3] Angel AA.  Current anaesthesia and critical care. 4, 37-45, 1993.  A 
review and possible mechanism for anaesthetic action which does not require 
intimate knowledge of which receptor(s) are being hit.

I am just putting together the introduction to my thesis on possible 
anaesthetic mechanisms, and the more I see, the less convinced I am that a 
single 'anaesthetic receptor' can be found.  In the case of new agents like 
propofol, many possibilities need to be addressed before its true mechanism 
of action can be found.  Also check out this page:


Nigel Foden
Imperial College of Medicine at St. Mary's

n.foden at

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list