Dynamics of recovery from anaesthesia-induced unconsciousness across primate neocortex

Shaun R. Patel, Jesus J. Ballesteros, Omar J. Ahmed, Pamela Huang, Jessica Briscoe, Emad N. Eskandar, Yumiko Ishizawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


How the brain recovers from general anaesthesia is poorly understood. Neurocognitive problems during anaesthesia recovery are associated with an increase in morbidity and mortality in patients. We studied intracortical neuronal dynamics during transitions from propofol-induced unconsciousness into consciousness by directly recording local field potentials and single neuron activity in a functionally and anatomically interconnecting somatosensory (S1, S2) and ventral premotor (PMv) network in primates. Macaque monkeys were trained for a behavioural task designed to determine trial-by-trial alertness and neuronal response to tactile and auditory stimulation. We found that neuronal dynamics were dissociated between S1 and higher-order PMv prior to return of consciousness. The return of consciousness was distinguishable by a distinctive return of interregionally coherent beta oscillations and disruption of the slow-delta oscillations. Clustering analysis demonstrated that these state transitions between wakefulness and unconsciousness were rapid and unstable. In contrast, return of pre-anaesthetic task performance was observed with a gradual increase in the coherent beta oscillations. We also found that recovery end points significantly varied intra-individually across sessions, as compared to a rather consistent loss of consciousness time. Recovery of single neuron multisensory responses appeared to be associated with the time of full performance recovery rather than the length of recovery time. Similar to loss of consciousness, return of consciousness was identified with an abrupt shift of dynamics and the regions were dissociated temporarily during the transition. However, the actual dynamics change during return of consciousness is not simply an inverse of loss of consciousness, suggesting a unique process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-843
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • General anaesthesia
  • Local field potentials
  • Non-human primates
  • Return of consciousness
  • Sensory premotor network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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