The influence of halothane, isoflurane, and pentobarbital on cerebral plasma volume in hypocapnic and normocapnic rats

J. B. Weeks, M. M. Todd, D. S. Warner, J. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Cerebral blood volume (CBV = cerebral plasma volume [CPV] + cerebral red cell volume [CRBCV]) is one determinant of intracranial pressure. In an effort to quantitate the effects of anesthetics and Pa(CO2) on CBV, the authors measured cerebral plasma volume (CPV) in normocapnic (PA(CO2 ~ 42 mmHg) and hypocapnic (PA(CO2) ~ 22 mmHg) rats receiving 1 MAC doses of isoflurane or halothane, or given an approximately equivalent dose of pentobarbital. All animals were paralyzed, their lungs mechanically ventilated, and body temperature kept normal through the study. CPV was measured using 14C-labeled dextran, a large (70,000 molecular weight [M.W.]), nondiffusible compound that was given intravenously and allowed to circulate for ~ 5 min. The experiments then were terminated by freezing the brains in situ with liquid N2 poured into a funnel affixed to the exposed calvarium. Isotope concentrations in solubilized brain and in plasma were determined by scintillation counting, and CPV was calculated as the ratio between these values. CPV during both hypocapnic and normocapnic pentobarbital anesthesia was less than with either volatile agent. During normocapnia, CPV for pentobarbital = 2.1 ± 0.26 ml/100 g (mean ± SD, n = 8), compared with 2.96 ± 0.44 ml/100 g (n = 9) and 3.06 ± 0.44 ml/100 g (n = 9) for halothane and isoflurane, respectively. There were no differences in CPV between the two volatile agents during normocapnia. However, during hypocapnia, CPV in isoflurane-anesthetized animals decreased to 2.29 ± 0.43 ml/100 g, as compared with 2.68 ± 0.36 ml/100 g with halothane (P < 0.05) and 1.86 ± 0.33 ml/100 g for pentobarbital (not significant vs. isoflurane, P < 0.01 for pentobarbital vs. halothane). The magnitude of these differences - particularly the changes produced by Pa(CO2) - appears to be smaller than previously published differences in cerebral blood flow (CBF), which supports suggestions that it may be invalid to equate changes in CBF with changes in brain blood volume or intracranial pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-466
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990


  • Anesthetics, intravenous: barbiturates; pentobarbital
  • Anesthetics, volatile: halothane; isoflurane
  • Brain: cerebral blood volume; cerebral blood flow; intracranial pressure
  • Neuroanesthesia


Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of halothane, isoflurane, and pentobarbital on cerebral plasma volume in hypocapnic and normocapnic rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this