Aims: Sevoflurane is widely used for general anesthesia in children. Previous studies reported that multiple neonatal exposures to sevoflurane can induce long-term cognitive impairment in adolescent rats, but the underlying mechanisms were not defined.

Methods: Postnatal day 6 (P6) to P8 rat pups were exposed to 30% oxygen with or without 3% sevoflurane balanced with air. The Y maze test (YMT) and Morris water maze (MWM) tests were performed in some cohorts from age P35 to assess cognitive functions, and their brain samples were harvested at age P14, 21, 28, 35, and 42 for measurements of various molecular entities and in vivo electrophysiology experiments at age P35.

Results: Sevoflurane exposure resulted in cognitive impairment that was associated with decreased synCAM1 expression in parvalbumin (PV) interneurons, a reduction of PV phenotype, disturbed gamma oscillations, and dendritic spine loss in the hippocampal CA3 region. Enriched environment (EE) increased synCAM1 expression in the PV interneurons and attenuated sevoflurane-induced cognitive impairment. The synCAM1 overexpression by the adeno-associated virus vector in the hippocampal CA3 region restored sevoflurane-induced cognitive impairment, PV phenotype loss, gamma oscillations decrease, and dendritic spine loss.

Conclusion: Our data suggested that neonatal sevoflurane exposure results in cognitive impairment through decreased synCAM1 expression in PV interneurons in the hippocampus.

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Ming-Ming Zhao Et Al.
CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics December 2023