Emergence of consciousness from anesthesia through ubiquitin degradation of KCC2 in the ventral posteromedial nucleus of the thalamus
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Regaining consciousness after being anaesthetised is found to be an active process, opening up the possibility of controlling it.
Waking up after being anaesthetised was once assumed to be a passive process that occurred as levels of the anaesthetic dropped below a certain value.
Now, eight scientists, all from SUSTech in Shenzhen, China, have found that regaining consciousness is an active process in mice–irrespective of the type of anaesthetic used.
Specifically, they discovered that degradation of K+/Cl– cotransporter (KCC2) in the ventral posteromedial nucleus of the thalamus — a brain region associated with the re-emergence of consciousness — leads to the regaining of consciousness. This degradation occurs through ubiquitin, a compound involved in the degradation of proteins in cells.
This finding could help develop methods for waking patients in the vegetive state or who don’t regain consciousness after being anaesthetised.
- Nature Neuroscience 26, 751–764 (2023). doi: 10.1038/s41593-023-01290-y
|Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), China