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High gender -specific susceptibility to curare- a neuromuscular blocking agent

Keywords: Curare , dose response , gender , muscle activity , oxygen consumption

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Abstract:

Curare, a selective skeletal muscle relaxant, has been used clinically to reduce shivering and as an anesthetic auxiliary in abdominal surgery. It is also widely used in animal experiments to block neuromuscular junction activity. Effective doses of curare diminish muscle contraction without affecting brain function, but at higher doses it is known to be lethal. However, the exact dose of curare initiating muscle relaxation vs. lethal effect has not been fully characterized in mice. In this study we carefully examined the dose-response for achieving muscle inactivity over lethality in both male and female mice (C57BL6/J). The most striking finding of this study is that female mice were highly susceptible to curare; both the EDm and LDm were at least 3-fold lower than male littermates. This study shows that gender-specific differences can be an important factor when administering skeletal muscle relaxants, particularly curare or other analogous agents targeted to the neuromuscular junction.

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