Title: “The Effects of Volatile Anesthetics on Somatosensory Layer 2/3 Neuronal Dynamics”
John A. White, PhD – BME (Advisor, Chair)
Xue Han, PhD – BME
Laura Lewis, PhD – BME
Christopher W. Connor, MD/PhD – Physiology and Biophysics
Christopher V. Gabel, PhD – Physiology and Biophysics
Volatile anesthetics have been an important milestone in the practice of modern medicine as they are capable of producing all the effects of general anesthesia including unconsciousness, amnesia, analgesia, and akinesia. Research into how these anesthetics has mainly progressed either along the molecular avenue, which characterized the effects on ion channels and receptors, or by studying gross neural activity across brain regions. However, we still lack an understanding of how these volatile anesthetics affect the network activity and bring about the anesthetized state at the mesoscale composed of tens to thousands of neurons. Bridging this knowledge gap is important as studies have shown post-operative problems linked to anesthesia exposure in infants and the elderly. To address these issues, we propose studying the effects of isoflurane on layer 2/3 neurons of the murine somatosensory cortex. Using calcium imaging we first characterize the effects on the network dynamics of the excitatory and inhibitory populations. We then use intracellular recordings to determine the effects on the subthreshold dynamics. Finally, we propose a model for the network activity based on the depth of anesthesia. This study will help us understand how anesthesia is changing normal neuronal activity and provide a better understanding of how the state of anesthesia is produced.