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Physiology

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Nitrogen narcosis is caused due to (AIIMS 2011 MAY)



A Nitrogen inhibits dismutase enzyme

B Increase production of nitrous oxide

C Increased solubility of nitrogen in nerve cell membrane

D Decrease in oxygen free radicals

Ans. C Increased solubility of nitrogen in nerve cell membrane

I. Nitrogen narcosis( inert gas narcosis, raptures of the deep, Martini effect) is a reversible alteration in consciousness that occurs while scuba diving at depth as under high pressure nitrogen becomes soluble in blood and reaches the brain.

II. Apart from helium, and probably neon, all gases that can be breathed have a narcotic effect, which is greater as the lipid solubility of the gas increases.

III. The precise mechanism is not well understood, but it appears to be the direct effect of gas dissolving into nerve membranes and causing temporary disruption in nerve transmissions.

IV. Some of these effects may be due to antagonism at NMDA receptors and potentiation of GABAA receptors. Similar to the mechanism of ethanol's effect, the increase of gas dissolved in nerve cell membranes may cause altered ion permeability properties of the neural cells' lipid bilayers.

V. An early theory, the Meyer-Overton hypothesis suggested that narcosis happens when the gas penetrates the lipids of the brain's nerve cells, causing direct mechanical interference with the transmission of signals from one nerve cell to another.

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