Ferroptosis is a novel type of programmed cell death, which is different from apoptosis and autophagic cell death. Recently, ferroptosis has been indicated to contribute to the in vitro neurotoxicity induced by isoflurane, which is one of the most common anesthetics in clinic. However, the in vivo position of ferroptosis in isoflurane-induced neurotoxicity as well as learning and memory impairment remains unclear. In this study, we mainly explored the relationship between ferroptosis and isoflurane-induced learning and memory, as well as the therapeutic methods in mouse model. Our results indicated that isoflurane induced the ferroptosis in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner in hippocampus, the organ related with learning and memory ability. In addition, the activity of cytochrome c oxidase/Complex IV in mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) was increased by isoflurane, which might further contributed to cysteine deprivation-induced ferroptosis caused by isoflurane exposure. More importantly, isoflurane-induced ferroptosis could be rescued by both ferroptosis inhibitor (ferrostatin-1) and mitochondria activator (dimethyl fumarate), which also showed effective therapeutic action against isoflurane-induced learning and memory impairment. Taken together, our data indicate the close association among ferroptosis, mitochondria and isoflurane, and provide a novel insight into the therapy mode against isoflurane-induced learning and memory impairment.

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