Propofol exerts a cytotoxic influence over immature neurocytes. Our previous study revealed that clinically relevant doses of propofol accelerated apoptosis of primary cultured astrocytes of developing rodent brains via rno-miR-665 regulation. However, the role of rno-miR-665 during the growth spurt of neonatal rodent brains in vivo is still uncertain. Postnatal day 7 (P7) rats received a single injection of propofol 30 mg/kg intraperitoneally (i.p.), and neuroapoptosis of hippocampal astrocytes was analyzed by immunofluorescence and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The differential expression of rno-miR-665, BCL2L1 (Bcl-xl) and cleaved caspase-3 (CC3) was surveyed by qRT-PCR and western blotting. Additionally, the utility of A-1155463, a highly potent and BCL2L1-selective antagonist, was aimed to assess the contribution of BCL2L1 for neuroglial survival. Following the intraventricular injection of lentivirus rno-miR-665, neuroprotection was detected by 5-point scale measurement. The single dose of propofol 30 mg/kg triggered dose-dependent apoptosis of developing hippocampal astrocytes. Meanwhile, propofol triggered both rno-miR-665 and CC3, and depressed BCL2L1, which was predicted as one target gene of rno-miR-665. Combination treatment with A-1155463 and propofol induced lower mRNA and protein levels of BCL2L1 and more CC3 activation than propofol treatment alone in vivo. The lentivirus-mediated knockdown of rno-miR-665 elevated BCL2L1 and attenuated CC3 levels, while upregulation of rno-miR-665 suppressed BCL2L1 and induced CC3 expression in vivo. More importantly, rno-miR-665 antagomir infusion improved neurological outcomes of pups receiving propofol during the brain growth spurt. Rno-miR-665, providing a potential target for alternative therapeutics for pediatric anesthesia, is susceptible to propofol by negatively targeting antiapoptotic BCL2L1.

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