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Organic Chemistry
Found in: Page 91

Short Answer

Question: Explain why the noble gas xenon is a general anesthetic.


Xenon binds with the receptors to inhibit the transfer of pain signals to the brain.

See the step by step solution

Step by Step Solution

Step 1: Anesthetics

Anesthetics are compounds that block the nervous signal of pain from any body part from reaching the brain. There are different anesthetics for different signals emerging from other regions.

For example, novocaine shots are given to numb the nerves in the mouth to block the pain signals generated during dental procedures, such as rootcanal, from reaching the brain.

Step 2: Key to good anesthesia

The key to good anesthesia is to block such proteins from interacting with the receptors.

Step 3: Role of xenon as an anesthetic

Xenon blocks the plasma-membrane calcium pump. It gets into the non-competitive inhibition with the N-methyl-D-aspartate for their receptors and blocks them. Thus, as the receptors are blocked, no pain signal is passed to the brain. Hence, xenon acts as an excellent anesthetic.

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