Mounting animal studies have demonstrated that almost all the clinically used general anesthetics could induce widespread neuroapoptosis in the immature brain. Alarmingly, some published findings have reported long-term neurocognitive deficits in response to early anesthesia exposure which deeply stresses the potential seriousness of developmental anesthetic neurotoxicity. However, the connection between anesthesia induced neuroapoptosis and subsequent neurocognitive deficits remains controversial. It should be noted that developmental anesthesia related neurotoxicity is not limited to neuroapoptosis. Early anesthesia exposure caused transient suppression of neurogenesis, ultrastructural abnormalities in synapse and alteration in the development of neuronal networks also could contribute to the long-term neurocognitive dysfunction. Understanding the mechanisms of developmental anesthetic neurotoxicity, especially by which anesthesia impairs brain function months after exposure, may lead to development of rational preventive and therapeutic strategies. The focus of present review is on some of those potential mechanisms that have been proposed for anesthesia induced cognitive decline.