Sevoflurane is a widely used inhaled anesthetic, which triggers neuroapoptosis and oxidative damage in the developing central nervous system and cognitive dysfunction later in life. However, no effective therapeutic strategy for sevoflurane-induced deleterious effects is well developed. The purpose of the present study was to explore whether luteoline could attenuate neonatal sevoflurane exposure-triggered neurotoxicity. In this study, six-day-old C57BL/6 mice were pretreated with luteoline (30, 60 mg/kg) intraperitoneally for 30 min before exposed to 3% sevoflurane 6 h consecutively. We first examined the effects of luteoline on hippocampal neuron apoptosis, inflammation and oxidative stress 18 h post anesthesia. The spatial learning and memory performance was measured using Morris water maze test from postnatal day 31 to 38. The results showed that luteoline ameliorated neuronal apoptosis as evidenced by decrease of apoptotic cells, downregulation of the cleavage levels of caspase-3 and PRAP, and inactivation of caspase-3. Moreover, luteoline significantly decreased protein expressions of inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-18 and TNF-α), inhibited NF-кB/NLRP3 pathway (NF-кB, NLRP3, ASC and caspase-1) and suppressed NF-кB activity. Our analyses indicated that luteoline had a significant effect on decreasing the contents of ROS and MDA, elevating the activity of SOD, and ultimately improving spatial learning and memory deficits of mice. In summary, our findings confirm that the attenuation of luteoline on sevoflurane-induced spatial learning and memory impairment later is associated with inhibition of hippocampal neuron apoptosis, inflammation and oxidative stress early. Luteoline might be a potential therapeutic for sevoflurane anesthesia-induced neurobehavioral dysfunction.

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