Multiple sevoflurane exposure may result in cognitive deficits in neonatal animals. This study attempted to investigate the potential mechanism of sevoflurane-induced neurotoxicity in developing hippocampus. Neonatal animals received sevoflurane anesthesia, then the behavioral tests and Golgi-Cox staining were employed to detect the effect of sevoflurane inhalation in adult mice. And the mitochondrial function was evaluated using MitoSOX staining, Fluo calcium indicators, mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) assay, and JC-1 probe after sevoflurane administration. Meanwhile, mitochondrial lipid hydroperoxide and ferroptosis were measured by MitoPeDPP and Mito-FerroGreen signals following sevoflurane exposure. Moreover, the ferroptosis and behavioral performance were assessed after deferiprone (DFP) treatment. The results showed that sevoflurane administration induced cognitive impairment accompanied by reducing dendritic length, density, and nodes. Additionally, sevoflurane exposure elevated mitochondrial ROS production and cytoplasm calcium levels, triggered the opening of mPTP, and decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). However, supplement of elamipretide (SS-31) effectively reversed mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondrial lipid hydroperoxide production was increased after sevoflurane administration, whereas Fer-1 treatment reduced lipid hydroperoxide formation. Sevoflurane exposure induced mitochondrial iron overload, whereas Mito-Tempo treatment reduced iron accumulation. Prussian blue staining showed that the hippocampal iron deposition was apparently increased after sevoflurane inhalation. Additionally, the ferroptosis-related protein expression (including ACSL4, COX2, GPX4, and FTH1) was significantly changed, whereas DFP effectively suppressed ferroptosis and enhanced sevoflurane-induced behavioral malfunction. These findings demonstrated that sevoflurane administration elicited mitochondrial dysfunction and iron dyshomeostasis and eventually resulted in cognitive impairments, whereas protecting mitochondrial function and chelating neurotoxic iron effectively reversed these pathological processes.

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Piao Zhang, Yeru Chen, ShuXia Zhang, & Gang Chen.
Frontiers in Medicine July 2022