A team of investigators led by Roderic Eckenhoff recently published their identification of a fluorescent anesthetic compound that should assist in obtaining more precise information about the mechanism of anesthetics and allow more rapid testing of potential new anesthetic drugs. The compound, 1-aminoanthracene, is anesthetic, potentiates GABAergic transmission, and gives the appropriate dissociation constant for binding to the general anesthetic site of horse spleen apoferritin. Its signal intensity changes as it is displaced from this binding site so it can serve as a marker for site binding competition. The introductory three paragraphs of their paper provide a focused review of the structural requirements of an anesthetic site of action. Figure 8 is of particular interest in that it may be one of the first showing the distribution of a general anesthetic molecule within the brain. Ref: Butts CA et al: Identification of a fluorescent general anesthetic, 1-aminoanthracene. Proc Nat Acad Sci 2009;106:6501-6501
David S. Smith, M.D., Ph.D.