Table of Contents
ISRN Anesthesiology
Volume 2011, Article ID 402906, 10 pages
Review Article

Mechanism of Anesthetic Toxicity: Metabolism, Reactive Oxygen Species, Oxidative Stress, and Electron Transfer

1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
2Centro de Graduados e Investigación del Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana, Apdo postal 1166, 22500 Tijuana BC, Mexico

Received 13 September 2011; Accepted 11 October 2011

Academic Editors: D. Karakitsos and A. Mizutani

Copyright © 2011 Peter Kovacic and Ratnasamy Somanathan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is much literature on the toxic effects of anesthetics. This paper deals with both the volatiles and locals. Adverse effects appear to be multifaceted, with the focus on radicals, oxidative stress (OS), and electron transfer (ET). ET functionalities involved are quinone, iminoquinone, conjugated iminium, and nitrone. The non-ET routes involving radicals and OS apparently pertain to haloalkanes and ethers. Beneficial effects of antioxidants, evidently countering OS, are reported. Knowledge at the molecular level should aid in devising strategies to combat the adverse effects.