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01.08.2010 | Review | Ausgabe 4/2010

Critical Care 4/2010

Bench-to-bedside review: Molecular pharmacology and clinical use of inert gases in anesthesia and neuroprotection

Critical Care > Ausgabe 4/2010
Robert Dickinson, Nicholas P Franks
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​cc9051) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

NPF has a financial interest in the use of xenon as a neuroprotectant and has been a paid consultant for Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (Allentown, PA, USA) for this activity. RD declares that he has no competing interests.


In the past decade there has been a resurgence of interest in the clinical use of inert gases. In the present paper we review the use of inert gases as anesthetics and neuroprotectants, with particular attention to the clinical use of xenon. We discuss recent advances in understanding the molecular pharmacology of xenon and we highlight specific pharmacological targets that may mediate its actions as an anesthetic and neuroprotectant. We summarize recent in vitro and in vivo studies on the actions of helium and the other inert gases, and discuss their potential to be used as neuroprotective agents.

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