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Neurochem Res. 2016 Oct;41(10):2517-2525. Epub 2016 Jun 2.

Taurine Pretreatment Prevents Isoflurane-Induced Cognitive Impairment by Inhibiting ER Stress-Mediated Activation of Apoptosis Pathways in the Hippocampus in Aged Rats.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Jining First People's Hospital, No. 6 Jiankang Road, Jining, 272011, Shandong, China.
Department of Anesthesiology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan, 250012, Shandong, China.
Department of Anesthesiology, Jining First People's Hospital, No. 6 Jiankang Road, Jining, 272011, Shandong, China.


Isoflurane, a commonly used inhalation anesthetic, may induce neurocognitive deficits, especially in elderly patients after surgery. Recent study demonstrated that isoflurane caused endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and subsequent neuronal apoptosis in the brain, contributing to cognitive deficits. Taurine, a major intracellular free amino acid, has been shown to inhibit ER stress and neuronal apoptosis in several neurological disorders. Here, we examined whether taurine can prevent isoflurane-induced ER stress and cognitive impairment in aged rats. Thirty minutes prior to a 4-h 1.3 % isoflurane exposure, aged rats were treated with vehicle or taurine at low, middle and high doses. Aged rats without any treatment served as control. The brains were harvested 6 h after isoflurane exposure for molecular measurements, and behavioral study was performed 2 weeks later. Compared with control, isoflurane increased expression of hippocampal ER stress biomarkers including glucose-regulated protein 78, phosphorylated (P-) inositol-requiring enzyme 1, P-eukaryotic initiation factor 2-α (EIF2α), activating transcription factor 4 (ATF-4), cleaved ATF-6 and C/EBP homologous protein, along with activation of apoptosis pathways as indicated by decreased B cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2)/BCL2-associated X protein, increased expressions of cytochrome-c and cleaved caspase-3. Taurine pretreatment dose-dependently inhibited isoflurane-induced increase in expression of ER stress biomarkers except for P-EIF2α and ATF-4, and reversed isoflurane-induced changes in apoptosis-related proteins. Moreover, isoflurane caused spatial working memory deficits in aged rats, which were prevented by taurine pretreatment. The results indicate that taurine pretreatment prevents anesthetic isoflurane-induced cognitive impairment by inhibiting ER stress-mediated activation of apoptosis pathways in the hippocampus in aged rats.


Apoptosis; Cognitive impairment; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Isoflurane; Taurine

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