The Common Inhalation Anesthetic Isoflurane Induces Caspase Activation and Increases Amyloid beta-Protein Level In Vivo

Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.
Annals of Neurology (Impact Factor: 9.98). 12/2008; 64(6):618-27. DOI: 10.1002/ana.21548
Source: PubMed


An estimated 200 million patients worldwide have surgery each year. Anesthesia and surgery have been reported to facilitate emergence of Alzheimer's disease. The commonly used inhalation anesthetic isoflurane has previously been reported to induce apoptosis, and to increase levels and aggregation of Alzheimer's disease-associated amyloid beta-protein (Abeta) in cultured cells. However, the in vivo relevance has not been addressed.
We therefore set out to determine effects of isoflurane on caspase activation and levels of beta-site amyloid precursor protein-cleaving enzyme (BACE) and Abeta in naive mice, using Western blot, immunohistochemistry, and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.
Here we show for the first time that a clinically relevant isoflurane anesthesia (1.4% isoflurane for 2 hours) leads to caspase activation and modest increases in levels of BACE 6 hours after anesthesia in mouse brain. Isoflurane anesthesia induces caspase activation, and increases levels of BACE and Abeta up to 24 hours after anesthesia. Isoflurane may increase BACE levels by reducing BACE degradation. Moreover, the Abeta aggregation inhibitor, clioquinol, was able to attenuate isoflurane-induced caspase-3 activation in vivo.
Given that transient insults to brain may lead to long-term brain damage, these findings suggest that isoflurane may promote Alzheimer's disease neuropathogenesis and, as such, have implications for use of isoflurane in humans, pending human study confirmation.

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Available from: Robert D Moir, Sep 16, 2014
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    • "used to detect β - Actin ( 42 kDa ) . Western blot quantification was performed as described by Xie et al . ( 2008 ) . One hundred percent of the protein level changes on the Y - axis of the figures refer to the control condition for the purpose of comparison with experimental conditions ."
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    ABSTRACT: There is a need to develop animal models to study postoperative delirium. Inattention is one of the symptoms of delirium. Increases in the levels of α-synuclein and S100β have been reported to be associated with delirium. Therefore, we set out to determine the effects of surgery plus general anesthesia on the behavioral changes (including loss of attention) in mice and on the levels of α-synuclein and S100β in the brain tissues of these mice. C57BL/6J mice (2- to 8-months-old) had a simple laparotomy plus isoflurane anesthesia. The behavioral changes, including attention level and the speed of movements, were determined 12, 24, and 48 h after the surgery plus anesthesia in the mice. The levels of α-synuclein and S100β in the cortex of these mice following the surgery plus anesthesia were determined by Western blot analysis. We found that there was a loss of attention at 24, but not 12 or 48 h following the surgery plus anesthesia (49% ± 5 vs. 33% ± 2.9, P = 0.011, N = 12) in the mice without significantly affecting the speed of their movements. There were increases in the levels of total α-synuclein (139% ± 33.5 vs. 100% ± 13.7, P = 0.037, N = 6) and S100β (142% ± 7.7 vs. 100% ± 6, P = 0.002, N = 6) in the cortex of the mice 12 h following the surgery plus anesthesia. These findings suggested that the surgery plus isoflurane anesthesia might induce behavioral and biochemical/cellular changes associated with delirium. We could use the surgery plus anesthesia in mice to develop an animal model to study postoperative delirium.
    Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 09/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2015.00346 · 4.29 Impact Factor
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    • "There is very little data on the cognitive effects of newer inhalational anesthetics such as sevoflurane and desflurane that is relevant to the memory deficits that occur in POCD namely, impaired cognition weeks or months subsequent to exposure to anesthesia, when the agent is no longer present in the body. Further implicating anesthesia alone as a possible cause of POCD, pathological studies in experimental animals have demonstrated increased apoptosis, as well as increased pathology associated with Alzheimer's disease following exposure of mice to isoflurane [32], isoflurane plus nitrous oxide [36], sevoflurane [10], and desflurane combined with hypoxia [35]. In these studies, however, no tests of cognition were performed so it is unknown whether such changes result in POCD. "
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    ABSTRACT: Post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) predominantly affects the elderly who suffer memory and concentration deficits after anesthesia and surgery. Animal studies have demonstrated anesthetic alone may contribute to POCD but results are variable and little is known about common anesthetics other than isoflurane. The present study investigated dose-dependence of desflurane anesthesia in young adult and aged rats. We hypothesize higher concentrations of desflurane will result in memory impairment in the water maze and that impairment will be worse in aged rats. Effects of anesthesia (1 or 1.5 MAC, 4 h) desflurane, or sham exposure on cognition were investigated in young adult (3 months) and aged (20-24 months) rats at 1, 4, and 12 weeks post-exposure. The Morris water maze was used to assess acquisition and retention of spatial reference memory. Latency to find the hidden platform and swimming speed were compared between treatments. Aged rats showed significant impairment in task acquisition after exposure to 1.5 MAC, but not 1.0 MAC desflurane anesthetic when tested 1 week following exposure. Latency to find the platform and distance travelled were significantly longer in aged rats given 1.5 MAC desflurane (latency: F(1,108) = 19.71, p < 0.0001; distance: F(1,108) = 5.79, p = 0.018). Deficits were not long-lasting and were no longer present at 4 or 12 weeks. In contrast, young adult rats performed equally as well as sham-exposed control rats irrespective of desflurane dose. This study showed the effects of desflurane on learning and memory in the water maze are age and dose dependent and are brief in duration.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 11/2014; 44(3). DOI:10.3233/JAD-132444 · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    • "They were assessed constantly by observation to ensure the adequate spontaneous breathing same as in our previous study [10]. We did not monitor blood gases in these treatments as previous study has demonstrated that 1.5% isoflrune for 2 hr did not affect arterial blood gas significantly [50]. 12 male and 10 female mice were used for isoflurane treatment group, while 10 male and 8 female were used for corresponding controls. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background While previous studies have demonstrated neuronal apoptosis and associated cognitive impairment after isoflurane or propofol exposure in neonatal rodents, the effects of these two anesthetics have not been directly compared. Here, we compare and contrast the effectiveness of isoflurane and propofol to cause neurodegeneration in the developing brain and associated cognitive dysfunction. Methods Seven-day-old mice were used. Mice in the isoflurane treatment group received 6 h of 1.5% isoflurane, while mice in propofol treatment group received one peritoneal injection (150 mg/kg), which produced persistent anesthesia with loss of righting for at least 6 h. Mice in control groups received carrying gas or a peritoneal injection of vehicle (intralipid). At 6 h after anesthetic treatment, a subset of each group was sacrificed and examined for evidence of neurodegeneration, using plasma levels of S100β, and apoptosis using caspase-3 immunohistochemistry in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus and Western blot assays of the cortex. In addition, biomarkers for inflammation (interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha) were examined with Western blot analyses of the cortex. In another subset of mice, learning and memory were assessed 32 days after the anesthetic exposures using the Morris water maze. Results Isoflurane significantly increased plasma S100β levels compared to controls and propofol. Both isoflurane and propofol significantly increased caspase-3 levels in the cortex and hippocampus, though isoflurane was significantly more potent than propofol. However, there were no significant differences in the inflammatory biomarkers in the cortex or in subsequent learning and memory between the experimental groups. Conclusion Both isoflurane and propofol caused significant apoptosis in the mouse developing brain, with isoflurane being more potent. Isoflurane significantly increased levels of the plasma neurodegenerative biomarker, S100β. However, these neurodegenerative effects of isoflurane and propofol in the developing brain were not associated with effects on inflammation or with cognitive dysfunction in later life.
    PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e99171. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0099171 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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