Anesth Analg, December 2013.
Kato R, Tachibana K, Nishimoto N, Hashimoto T, Uchida Y, Ito R, Tsuruga K, Takita K, Morimoto Y.


Background: The inhaled anesthetic sevoflurane is commonly used for neonates in the clinical setting. Recent studies have indicated that exposure of neonatal rodents to sevoflurane causes acute widespread neurodegeneration and long-lasting neurocognitive dysfunction. Although acute toxic effects of sevoflurane on cellular viability in the hippocampus have been reported in some studies, little is known about the effects of neonatal sevoflurane exposure on long-term hippocampal synaptic plasticity, which has been implicated in the processes of learning and memory formation. Our study is the first to examine the long-term electrophysiological impact of neonatal exposure to a clinically relevant concentration of sevoflurane.

Methods: On postnatal day 7, rats were exposed to sevoflurane (1% or 2% for 2 hours) with oxygen. To eliminate the influence of blood gas abnormalities caused by sevoflurane-induced respiratory suppression, a group of rats were exposed to a high concentration of carbon dioxide (8% for 2 hours) to duplicate respiratory disturbances caused by 2% sevoflurane exposure.

Results: Exposure of neonatal rats to 2% sevoflurane for 2 hours caused significant suppression of long-term potentiation (LTP) induction in the postgrowth period. There was no significant difference between the control group and the CO2-exposed group in LTP induction, indicating that sevoflurane-induced LTP suppression was not caused by blood gas abnormalities.

Conclusion: Our present findings indicate that neonatal exposure to sevoflurane at a higher concentration can cause alterations in the hippocampal synaptic plasticity that persists into adulthood.

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