General anesthetics (GAs) may cause disruptions in brain development, and the effect of GA exposure in the setting of pre-existing neurodevelopmental disease is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that synaptic development is more vulnerable to GA-induced deficits in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome than in WT mice and asked whether they were related to the mTOR pathway, a signaling system implicated in both anesthesia toxicity and fragile X syndrome. Early postnatal WT and Fmr1-KO mice were exposed to isoflurane and brain slices were collected in adulthood. Primary neuron cultures isolated from WT and Fmr1-KO mice were exposed to isoflurane during development, in some cases treated with rapamycin, and processed for immunohistochemistry at maturity. Quantitative immunofluorescence microscopy was conducted for synaptic markers and markers of mTOR pathway activity. Isoflurane exposure caused reduction in Synpasin-1, PSD-95, and Gephyrin puncta that was significantly lower in Fmr1-KO mice than in WT mice. Similar results were found in cell culture, where synapse loss was ameliorated with rapamycin treatment. Early developmental exposure to isoflurane causes more profound synapse loss in Fmr1- KO than WT mice, and this effect is mediated by a pathologic increase in mTOR pathway activity.
- Brain Development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience