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Anesthesiology 1998 Feb;88(2):379-89

Identification of a genetic region in mice that specifies sensitivity to propofol.

Simpson VJ, Rikke BA, Costello JM, Corley R, Johnson TE

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Department of Anesthesiology, Children's Hospital, Denver, USA.

BACKGROUND: Long-sleep (LS) and short-sleep (SS) mice, initially selected for differential sensitivity to ethanol, also exhibit differential sensitivity to propofol. By interbreeding LS and SS mice to obtain progeny whose chromosomes are a patchwork of the LS and SS chromosomes, the authors determined whether differential propofol sensitivity cosegregates with any particular chromosomal region(s). Such cosegregation is the essence of genetic linkage mapping and a first step toward isolating a gene that can modulate propofol sensitivity in mammals. A gene underlying a quantitative trait such as anesthetic sensitivity is commonly called a quantitative trait locus (QTL). METHODS: The propofol dose was 20 mg/kg injected retroorbitally. Sensitivity was measured as the duration of the loss of righting reflex (LORR). The LORR and propofol brain levels at awakening were determined for 24 LSXSS recombinant-inbred (RI) strains, derived by intercrossing LS and SS for two generations followed by >20 generations of inbreeding. A genetic linkage between LORR and an albino mutation on chromosome 7 was investigated further using 164 second-generation progeny (F2s) from intercrossing inbred LS and inbred SS mice, similar to the LSXSS RIs except F2s are not inbred. The linkage between propofol sensitivity and the albino locus also was investigated using additional genetic markers on chromosome 7. Statistical significance was assessed by interval mapping using a regression method for RIs and Mapmaker/QTL (Whitehead Institute, Cambridge, MA) for F2s. RESULTS: Genetic mapping in the LSXSS RIs revealed a QTL tightly linked to the Tyr (albino) locus that accounts for nearly all of the genetic difference in propofol sensitivity between LS and SS mice. Analysis of propofol brain levels at awakening indicated that this QTL results from differential neurosensitivity. Mapping in F2s confirmed the genetic linkage to Tyr. Mice (ISS c/c x C57BL/6 c2j/C) that differed only by an albino mutation at Tyr were not differentially sensitive to propofol. CONCLUSIONS: A single QTL, called Lorp1, underlies most of the genetic difference in propofol neurosensitivity between LS and SS mice. Although this QTL is tightly linked to Tyr, propofol sensitivity is not modulated by albinism. For mapping this QTL, the LSXSS RIs proved to be an especially powerful resource, localizing the candidate-gene region to a 99% confidence interval of only 2.5 centimorgans.

Comments: Comment in: Anesthesiology 1998 Feb;88(2):293-6