28 May 2013

Nitrous oxide anaesthetic damages leukocyte DNA

Prof Paul Myles, HOD Department of Anaesthesia & Perioperative Medicine, & colleagues have published research looking at the damage caused by the commonly used anaesthetic gas nitrous oxide to the DNA of leukocyte cells, with implications for wound healing. "The authors observe that maintenance of anesthesia with 70% nitrous oxide and sevoflurane in patients undergoing colorectal surgery doubles the incidence of DNA damage [as measured in a comet assay]"
and  "that nitrous oxide-induced genotoxicity [to leukocytes] is associated with postoperative wound infection", quoted from editorial writeup by Kirk Hogan. See journal article abstract. Note: the comet assay is so called because the DNA fragments and disperses in a comet shaped pattern. Image: www.libyanjournalofmedicine.net

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