It has been widely demonstrated by numerous preclinical studies and clinical trials that the neonates receiving repeated or long-time general anesthesia (GA) could develop prolonged cognitive dysfunction. However, the definite mechanism remains largely unknown. Epigenetics, which is defined as heritable alterations in gene expression that are not a result of alteration of DNA sequence, includes DNA methylation, histone post-translational modifications, non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), and RNA methylation. In recent years, the role of epigenetic modifications in neonatal GA-induced neurotoxicity has been widely explored and reported. In this review, we discuss and conclude the epigenetic mechanisms involving in the process of neonatal anesthesia-induced cognitive dysfunction. Also, we analyze the wide prospects of epigenetics in this field and its possibility to work as treatment target.

Read more.

Lin-Hui Ma, Jing Yan, Xin-Hao Jiao, Cheng-Hua Zhou, & Yu-Qing Wu.
Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience April 2022