The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of isoflurane on unstimulated and pilocarpine-stimulated parotid saliva secretion. Ten male Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 350–400 g were randomized into two groups, and the saliva flow rate and lag phase were measured at two doses of isoflurane in a crossover study design. Increasing the isoflurane concentration from 1% to 2% was associated with a 19% decrease in saliva secretion rate, and the lag to saliva secretion was increased by 155%. To clarify whether the effect of isoflurane (1.5%) on the parotid flow varied with stimulus intensity, we measured the parotid flow induced by seven different doses of pilocarpine on sham-irradiated rats and rats irradiated with single doses of 15 Gy. A maximal pilocarpine response was obtained with 1.5 mg/kg in both irradiated and sham-irradiated rats; however, the parotid flow of the irradiated rats was 50% slower than that of the sham-irradiated rats. In conclusion, 1.5% isoflurane was found to be a good compromise between proper anesthesia and isoflurane-induced inhibition of saliva secretion. Pilocarpine induces saliva secretion in a dose-dependent matter, with supra-maximal stimulation achieved using 1.5 mg/kg.

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