Gamma hydroxybutyric acid, a central inhibitory neurotransmitter and a cerebral metabolite of gamma-aminobutyric acid, is present in high concentrations in the mammalian hypothalamus and basal ganglia. Its sodium salt gamma hydroxybutyrate has been effectively used as an intravenous anaesthetic agent, and as an oral sedative, and in the management of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome. In an animal model, using 72 Wistar strain rats allocated to one of six groups of 12 animals each, with implanted lumbar intrathecal catheters, we examined whether gamma hydroxybutyrate, 20% 40 μL (32 mg kg-1) administered alone or combined with fentanyl, gamma hydroxybutyrate 20% 20 μL (16 mg kg -1), fentanyl 0.005% 20 μL (4 mg kg-1) as an intrathecal bolus, provides intraoperative anaesthesia, comparable with that produced by intrathecal lignocaine. We demonstrated that gamma hydroxybutyrate, given by an intrathecal bolus in the rat model, produced reversible segmental antinociception, together with muscular relaxation of the abdominal wall and rear limbs. This is accompanied by moderate sedation without haemodynamic or respiratory depression. This agent may thus be promising for use as a spinal anaesthetic drug.
- Gamma Hydroxybutyrate; spinal anaesthesia, rat intravenous anaesthetics
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid