Our principal research objective is to characterize strain differences in anesthetic action in a unique consomic (chromosomal substitution) rat model. Most of our current work has focused on the coupling between mechanisms of anesthetic effects on vascular smooth muscle tone and resultant overall cardiovascular stability during anesthesia. The goal is to enhance our understanding of what these mechanisms are and why certain individuals exhibit greater hemodynamic depression during anesthesia than others. pan>
Recently, a new direction of interest that we are pursuing is to follow up on previously observed strain differences in analgesic/awareness responses to anesthetics that correlates with above-described cardiovascular differences. Using the same animal model, we are interested in identifying genetic differences affecting the regulation of anesthetic-induced alterations of normal physiologic mechanisms that control consciousness. The challenge is to ultimately understand what is different about individuals that are likely to demonstrate anesthetic resistance and to be able to identify those at risk for incomplete loss of consciousness during general anesthesia.
Collectively, our intent is for all of the information that we generate to result in improved anesthetic techniques, particularly in individuals with enhanced sensitivity to these agents.