Free Radic Biol Med. 2015 May 29. pii: S0891-5849(15)00252-X. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2015.05.029. [Epub ahead of print]

Cheng Y1, Mitchell-Flack MJ2, Wang A2, Levy RJ3. 


Commonly used anesthetics induce widespread neuronal degeneration in the developing mammalian brain via the oxidative stress-associated mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. Dysregulation of cytochrome oxidase (CcOX), the terminal oxidase of the electron transport chain, can result in reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation and isoflurane has previously been shown to activate this enzyme. Carbon monoxide (CO), as a modulator of CcOX, is of interest because infants and children are routinely exposed to CO during low-flow anesthesia. We have recently demonstrated that low concentrations of CO limit and prevent isoflurane-induced neurotoxicity in the forebrain of newborn mice in a dose-dependent manner. However, the effect of CO on CcOX in the context of anesthetic-induced oxidative stress is unknown. Seven day old male CD-1 mice underwent 1-hour exposure to 0ppm (air), 5ppm, or 100ppm CO in air with or without isoflurane. Exposure to isoflurane or CO independently increased CcOX kinetic activity and increased ROS within forebrain mitochondria. However, combined exposure to CO with isoflurane paradoxically limited CcOX activation and oxidative stress. There were no changes seen in steady-state levels of CcOX I protein indicating post-translational modification of CcOX as an etiology for changes in enzyme activity. CO exposure led to differential effects on CcOX subunit I tyrosine phosphorylation depending on concentration, while combined exposure to isoflurane with CO markedly increased enzyme phosphorylation state. Phosphorylation of tyrosine 304 of CcOX subunit I has been shown to result in strong enzyme inhibition, and the relative reduction in CcOX kinetics following combined exposure to CO with isoflurane may have been due, in part, to such phosphorylation. Taken together, the data suggest that CO modulates CcOX in the developing brain during isoflurane exposure, thereby limiting oxidative stress. These CO-mediated effects could have implications for the development of low-flow anesthesia in infants and children in order to prevent anesthesia-induced oxidative stress.

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