Anesthetics and sedatives: Toxic or protective for the developing brain?
ABSTRACT Despite our insufficient understanding of the exact molecular mechanisms of general anesthetics and sedatives, every year millions of children are treated with these drugs in a seemingly safe manner. However, increasing evidence particularly from animal studies has suggested the possibility for deleterious effects in pediatric patients. All currently clinically utilized anesthetic drugs have been found to induce neuronal cell death in the developing brain and to potentially cause long-term neurological impairment. Conversely, painful stimuli without analgesia and anesthesia have also been shown to initiate a harmful stress response in young children and to trigger neurotoxic effects in the developing brain, which can be blunted by anesthetics. Moreover, anesthetic drugs may also confer neurological protection during hypoxic and ischemic insults. The mechanisms and human applicability of anesthetic neurotoxicity and neuroprotection remain under intense investigation and this Perspectives article summarizes the current state of research.
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ABSTRACT: Propofol is commonly used as sedative in newborns and children. Recent experimental studies led to contradictory results, revealing neurodegenerative or neuroprotective properties of propofol on the developing brain. We investigated neurodevelopmental short- and long-term effects of neonatal propofol treatment. 6-day-old Wistar rats (P6), randomised in two groups, received repeated intraperitoneal injections (0, 90, 180 min) of 30 mg/kg propofol or normal saline and sacrificed 6, 12 and 24 hrs following the first injection. Cortical and thalamic areas were analysed by Western blot and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) for expression of apoptotic and neurotrophin-dependent signalling pathways. Long-term effects were assessed by Open-field and Novel-Object-Recognition at P30 and P120. Western blot analyses revealed a transient increase of activated caspase-3 in cortical, and a reduction of active mitogen-activated protein kinases (ERK1/2, AKT) in cortical and thalamic areas. qRT-PCR analyses showed a down-regulation of neurotrophic factors (BDNF, NGF, NT-3) in cortical and thalamic regions. Minor impairment in locomotive activity was observed in propofol treated adolescent animals at P30. Memory or anxiety were not impaired at any time point. Exposing the neonatal rat brain to propofol induces acute neurotrophic imbalance and neuroapoptosis in a region- and time-specific manner and minor behavioural changes in adolescent animals.PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e64480. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0064480 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neural progenitor cell expansion is critical for normal brain development and an appropriate response to injury. During the brain growth spurt, exposures to general anesthetics, which either block the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor or enhance the γ-aminobutyric acid receptor type A can disturb neuronal transduction. This effect can be detrimental to brain development. Until now, the effects of anesthetic exposure on neural progenitor cell expansion in vivo had seldom been reported. Here, minimally invasive micro positron emission tomography (microPET) coupled with 3'-deoxy-3' [(18)F] fluoro-l-thymidine ([(18)F]FLT) was utilized to assess the effects of sevoflurane exposure on neural progenitor cell proliferation. FLT, a thymidine analog, is taken up by proliferating cells and phosphorylated in the cytoplasm, leading to its intracellular trapping. Intracellular retention of [(18)F]FLT, thus, represents an observable in vivo marker of cell proliferation. Here, postnatal day 7 rats (n = 11/group) were exposed to 2.5% sevoflurane or room air for 9 h. For up to 2 weeks following the exposure, standard uptake values (SUVs) for [(18)F]-FLT in the hippocampal formation were significantly attenuated in the sevoflurane-exposed rats (p < 0.0001), suggesting decreased uptake and retention of [(18)F]FLT (decreased proliferation) in these regions. Four weeks following exposure, SUVs for [(18)F]FLT were comparable in the sevoflurane-exposed rats and in controls. Co-administration of 7-nitroindazole (30 mg/kg, n = 5), a selective inhibitor of neuronal nitric oxide synthase, significantly attenuated the SUVs for [(18)F]FLT in both the air-exposed (p = 0.00006) and sevoflurane-exposed rats (p = 0.0427) in the first week following the exposure. These findings suggested that microPET in couple with [(18)F]FLT as cell proliferation marker could be used as a non-invasive modality to monitor the sevoflurane-induced inhibition of neural progenitor cell proliferation in vivo.Frontiers in Neurology 11/2014; 5:234. DOI:10.3389/fneur.2014.00234
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ABSTRACT: Every year millions of young people are treated with anaesthetic agents for surgery and sedation in a seemingly safe manner. However, growing and convincing preclinical evidence in rodents and nonhuman primates, together with recent epidemiological observations, suggest that exposure to anaesthetics in common clinical use can be neurotoxic to the developing brain and lead to long-term neurological sequelae. These findings have seriously questioned the safe use of general anaesthetics in obstetric and paediatric patients. The mechanisms and human applicability of anaesthetic neurotoxicity and neuroprotection have remained under intense investigation over the past decade. Ongoing pre-clinical investigation may have significant impact on clinical practice in the near future. This review represents recent developments in this rapidly emerging field. The aim is to summarise recently available laboratory data, especially those being published after 2010, in the field of anaesthetics-induced neurotoxicity and its impact on cognitive function. In addition, we will discuss recent findings in mechanisms of early-life anaesthetics-induced neurotoxicity, the role of human stem cell-derived models in detecting such toxicity, and new potential alleviating strategies.03/2014; 4(1):136-49. DOI:10.3390/brainsci4010136