Early postnatal exposure to isoflurane disrupts oligodendrocyte development and myelin formation in the mouse hippocampus

Qun Li, Reilley P. Mathena, Jing Xu, O'Rukevwe N. Eregha, Jieqiong Wen, Cyrus D. Mintz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Early postnatal exposure to general anesthetics may interfere with brain development. We tested the hypothesis that isoflurane causes a lasting disruption in myelin development via actions on the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway. Methods: Mice were exposed to 1.5% isoflurane for 4 h at postnatal day 7. The mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor, rapamycin, or the promyelination drug, clemastine, were administered on days 21 to 35. Mice underwent Y-maze and novel object position recognition tests (n = 12 per group) on days 56 to 62 or were euthanized for either immunohistochemistry (n = 8 per group) or Western blotting (n = 8 per group) at day 35 or were euthanized for electron microscopy at day 63. Results: Isoflurane exposure increased the percentage of phospho-S6-positive oligodendrocytes in fimbria of hippocampus from 22 ± 7% to 51 ± 6% (P < 0.0001). In Y-maze testing, isoflurane-exposed mice did not discriminate normally between old and novel arms, spending equal time in both (50 ± 5% old:50 ± 5% novel; P = 0.999), indicating impaired spatial learning. Treatment with clemastine restored discrimination, as evidenced by increased time spent in the novel arm (43 ± 6% old:57 ± 6% novel; P < 0.001), and rapamycin had a similar effect (44 ± 8% old:56 ± 8% novel; P < 0.001). Electron microscopy shows a reduction in myelin thickness as measured by an increase in g-ratio from 0.76 ± 0.06 for controls to 0.79 ± 0.06 for the isoflurane group (P < 0.001). Isoflurane exposure followed by rapamycin treatment resulted in a g-ratio (0.75 ± 0.05) that did not differ significantly from the control value (P = 0.426). Immunohistochemistry and Western blotting show that isoflurane acts on oligodendrocyte precursor cells to inhibit both proliferation and differentiation. DNA methylation and expression of a DNA methyl transferase 1 are reduced in oligodendrocyte precursor cells after isoflurane treatment. Effects of isoflurane on oligodendrocyte precursor cells were abolished by treatment with rapamycin. Conclusions: Early postnatal exposure to isoflurane in mice causes lasting disruptions of oligodendrocyte development in the hippocampus via actions on the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1077-1091
Number of pages15
JournalAnesthesiology
Volume131
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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