Previous research has shown that exposure to volatile anesthetics can induce acute neuroinflammation and neuroapoptopsis in neonatal rodents and that these events can lead to cognitive dysfunction at later stages. Isoflurane and sevoflurane are two of the most popular anesthetics used in the field of pediatrics. However, the relative impact of these two anesthetics on the developing brain at distinct time points after the induction of anesthesia has not been compared. In the present study, we exposed 7-day-old mice to clinically equivalent doses of isoflurane (1.5%) and sevoflurane (2.5%) for 4 h and then investigated consequential changes in the brains of these mice at six different time points. We analyzed the levels of proteins that are directly related to neuroapoptosis, neuroinflammation, synaptic function, and memory, in the brains of neonatal mice. Exposure of neonatal mice to isoflurane and sevoflurane resulted in acute neuronal apoptosis. Our analysis observed significant levels of neuroinflammation and changes in the expression levels of proteins associated with both synaptic transmission and memory in mice from the isoflurane group but not the sevoflurane group. Our results therefore indicate that isoflurane and sevoflurane induce differential effects in the brains of neonatal mice.

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