Every year, a large number of infants and young children worldwide are administered general anesthesia. Whether general anesthesia adversely affects the intellectual development and cognitive function of children at a later date remains controversial. Many animal experiments have shown that general anesthetics can cause nerve damage during development, affect synaptic plasticity, and induce apoptosis, and finally affect learning and memory function in adulthood. The neurotoxicity of pediatric anesthetics (PAN) has received extensive attention in the field of anesthesia, which has been listed as a potential problem affecting public health by NFDA of the United States. Previous studies on rodents and non-human primates indicate that inhalation of anesthetics early after birth can induce long-term and sustained impairment of learning and memory function, as well as changes in brain function. Many anti-oxidant drugs, dexmedetomidine, as well as a rich living environment and exercise have been proven to reduce the neurotoxicity of anesthetics. In this paper, we summarize the research progress, molecular mechanisms and current intervention measures of anesthetic neurotoxicity.

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