Numerous studies have questioned the safety of anesthetics on the developing brain given that many data support anesthetic neurotoxicity in infants [123]. In this issue of the Korean Journal of Anesthesiology [4], we discuss studies that found that co-administration of apocynin, an NADPH oxidase inhibitor, prevents long-term memory loss in neonatal mice exposed to sevoflurane by preserving glutamatergic neurons in the basolateral amygdala.

Rodent-based studies have shown that agents that affect NMDA and GABA receptors, like most of the anesthetics currently in use, produce profound apoptotic and neurodegenerative changes in the developing brain. These effects are associated with long-term deficits in learning and behavior, and may be mitigated by pharmacological agents and behavioral means.