General anaesthetics (GA) have been in continuous clinical use for more than 170 years, with millions of young and elderly populations exposed to GA to relieve perioperative discomfort and carry out invasive examinations. Preclinical studies have shown that neonatal rodents with acute and chronic exposure to GA suffer from memory and learning deficits, likely due to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, which has been linked to neurodevelopmental disorders. However, the mechanisms behind anaesthesia-induced alterations in late postnatal mice have yet to be established. In this narrative review, we present the current state of knowledge on early life anaesthesia exposure-mediated alterations of genetic expression, focusing on insights gathered on propofol, ketamine, and isoflurane, as well as the relationship between network effects and subsequent biochemical changes that lead to long-term neurocognitive abnormalities. Our review provides strong evidence and a clear picture of anaesthetic agents’ pathological events and associated transcriptional changes, which will provide new insights for researchers to elucidate the core ideas and gain an in-depth understanding of molecular and genetic mechanisms. These findings are also helpful in generating more evidence for understanding the exacerbated neuropathology, impaired cognition, and LTP due to acute and chronic exposure to anaesthetics, which will be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Given the many procedures in medical practice that require continuous or multiple exposures to anaesthetics, our review will provide great insight into the possible adverse impact of these substances on the human brain and cognition.
Alharbi et al.
CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug Targets May 2023