Original Article

Can Sevoflurane Induce Micronuclei Formation in Nasal Epithelial Cells of Adult Patients?


  • Elvin Kesimci
  • Erdem Çoşkun
  • Gökçer Uğur
  • Togay Müderris
  • Seval İzdeş
  • Bensu Karahalil

Received Date: 23.12.2016 Accepted Date: 07.08.2017 Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim 2017;45(5):264-269


Volatile anaesthetics can inhibit the bronchociliary clearence in a dose- and time-dependend way. Moreover, they can have potential mutagenic/carcinogenic effects under chronic exposure. A genotoxicity test -micronuclei assay- was carried out in nasal epithelial cells to analyze the genotoxic effect of sevoflurane in adult patients undergoing general anesthesia.


In this study, micronucleus (MN) assay was conducted using nasal epithelial cells of 37 adult patients (age, 18–65 years) who underwent elective, minor, short surgical procedures under general anaesthesia with sevoflurane. Anaesthesia was induced and maintained using 8% sevoflurane (in 6 L min−1 of oxygen) and an inspired concentration of 2% in O2–air mixture, respectively. Nasal epithelial samples were collected at three time points: before anaesthesia induction (T1), after recovery from anaesthesia in the postanaesthesia care unit (T2) and on postoperative day 21 (T3).


Sevoflurane significantly increased mean MN (‰) frequencies in nasal epithelial cells at T2 (6.97±2.33) and T3 (6.22±2.47) compared with those at T1 (3.84±1.89) (p<0.001). Similar result were observed for MN frequencies if the patients were analysed with regard to age (>40 or <40 years) or sex.


Short-term administration of sevoflurane anaesthesia induces MN formation in nasal epithelial cells of this patient population. Further studies are required for evaluation of the results. The prolonged administration of volatile anaesthetics in various risk groups and surgical protocols should be conducted for evaluating their safety.

Keywords: Volatile anaesthetics, sevoflurane, mask induction, genotoxicity, nasal epithelium