The anesthetics inhibit neural differentiation, induce neuron loss and cognitive impairment in young animals. However, the underlying mechanisms of anesthesia on neural differentiation are unknown.


Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and mice received sevoflurane anesthesia. RNA sequencing; gene expression of mRNAs, LncRNAs and miRNAs; over-expression and RNA interference of genes; flow cytometry; real-time quantity PCR and Western blot were used in the studies. RNA pull-down assay and PCR were employed to detect any miRNA that attached to Rik-203. The binding of miRNA with mRNA of BDNF was presented by the luciferase assay.


Here we found that LncRNA Riken-203(Rik-203) was highly expressed in mice brain and was upregulated during neural differentiation. Sevoflurane decreased the amount of Rik-203 in mice brain. Knockdown of Rik-203 repressed the neural differentiation derived from mouse embryonic stem cell and downregulated the neural progenitor cells markers Sox1 and Nestin. RNA pull-down showed that miR-466l-3p was highly bound to Rik-203. Inhibition of miR-466l-3p restored the neural differentiation repressed by Rik-203 knockdown. Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which was downregulated by sevoflurane, was also directly targeted by miR-466l-3p. Overexpression of BDNF restored the neural differentiation repressed by miR-466l-3p and Rik-203 knockdown.


Our study suggested that sevoflurane related LncRNARik-203 facilitates neural differentiation by inhibiting miR-466l-3p’s ability to reduce BDNF levels.

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