Despite substantial advocacy for the scientific community to focus on sex-specific differences in biology, the role of sex hormones remains inadequately studied in the field of anaesthesia-induced developmental neurotoxicity. A recent study by Yang and colleagues published in this journal addresses the importance of studying sex hormones during critical stages of brain development. The authors demonstrate that exogenous testosterone administered to immature mice pups around the time of sevoflurane exposure increased brain levels of testosterone, attenuated tau phosphorylation, inhibited glycogen synthase kinase-3β activation and its interaction/binding with tau, reversed sevoflurane-induced decreases in neuronal activation, and attenuated cognitive impairments. Their well-designed experiments suggest an important role that testosterone plays in balancing several important pathways crucial for neuronal protection and normal function of neuronal circuits in the male mammalian brain.

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British Journal of Anaesthesia January 2022

Editorial in response to this original research paper.