Shen, Xia M.D., Ph.D.; Dong, Yuanlin M.D., M.S.; Xu, Zhipeng M.D., Ph.D.; Wang, Hui M.D., Ph.D.; Miao, Changhong M.D., Ph.D.; Soriano, Sulpicio G. M.D.; Sun, Dandan M.D., Ph.D.; Baxter, Mark G. Ph.D.; Zhang, Yiying M.D., M.S.; Xie, Zhongcong M.D., Ph.D.
Anesthesiology. 2013 January 9. [epub ahead of print]


Background: Recent population studies have suggested that children with multiple exposures to anesthesia and surgery at an early age are at an increased risk of cognitive impairment. The authors therefore have established an animal model with single versus multiple exposures of anesthetic(s) in young versus adult mice, aiming to distinguish the role of different types of anesthesia in cognitive impairment.

Methods: Six- and 60-day-old mice were exposed to various anesthesia regimens. The authors then determined the effects of the anesthesia on learning and memory function, levels of proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-[alpha] in brain tissues, and the amount of ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1-positive cells, the marker of microglia activation, in the hippocampus.

Results: In this article, the authors show that anesthesia with 3% sevoflurane for 2 h daily for 3 days induced cognitive impairment and neuroinflammation (e.g., increased interleukin-6 levels, 151 +/- 2.3% [mean +/- SD] vs. 100 +/- 9.0%, P = 0.035, n = 6) in young but not in adult mice. Anesthesia with 3% sevoflurane for 2 h daily for 1 day and 9% desflurane for 2 h daily for 3 days induced neither cognitive impairment nor neuroinflammation. Finally, an enriched environment and antiinflammatory treatment (ketorolac) ameliorated the sevoflurane-induced cognitive impairment.

Conclusions: Anesthesia-induced cognitive impairment may depend on developmental stage, anesthetic agent, and number of exposures. These findings also suggest the cellular basis and the potential prevention and treatment strategies for anesthesia-induced cognitive impairment, which may ultimately lead to safer anesthesia care and better postoperative outcomes for children.

(C) 2013 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.

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