Biochem Biophys Res Commun, April 2015.
Ni C, Li Z, Qian M, Zhou Y, Wang J, Guo X.



Calcineurin (CaN) over-activation constrains synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Upon CaN activation, NFAT imports into the nucleus and guides its downstream genes, which also affect neuronal and synaptic function. Aberrant CaN/NFAT signaling involves in neurotoxicity and cognitive impairment in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, but its role in postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) remains uninvestigated. Inhaled anesthetic isoflurane facilitates the development of POCD, and the present study investigated the role of CaN/NFAT signaling in isoflurane induced cognitive impairment of aged rats, and the therapeutic effects of CaN inhibitor cyclosporine A (CsA). The results indicated that hippocampal CaN activity increased and peaked at 6 h after isoflurane exposure, and NFAT, especially NFATc4, imported into the nucleus following CaN activation. Furthermore, phamacological inhibition of CaN by CsA markedly attenuated isoflurane induced aberrant CaN/NFATc4 signaling in the hippocampus, and rescued relevant spatial learning and memory impairment of aged rats. Overall, the study suggests hippocampal CaN/NFAT signaling as the upstream mechanism of isoflurane induced cognitive impairment, and provides potential therapeutic target and possible treatment methods for POCD. 

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