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Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 15;6:33538. doi: 10.1038/srep33538.

Effects of Propofol General Anesthesia on Olfactory Relearning.

Jia LJ1,2, Tang P1,3,4, Brandon NR1, Luo Y2, Yu B2, Xu Y1,3,5.

Author information

1
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
2
Department of Anesthesiology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, 200025, China.
3
Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
4
Department of Computational and Systems Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
5
Department of Structural Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

Abstract

How general anesthesia interferes with sensory processing to cause amnesia remains unclear. Here, we show that activation of a learning-associated immediate early gene in rat olfactory cortices is uninterrupted by propofol, an intravenous general anesthetic with putative actions on the inhibitory GABAA receptors. Once learned under anesthesia, a novel odor can no longer re-activate the same high-level transcription programming during subsequent conscious relearning. Behavioral tests indicate that the animals' ability to consciously relearn a pure odorant, first experienced under general anesthesia, is indeed compromised. In contrast, when a mixture of two novel odorants is first experienced under anesthesia and then relearned consciously in pairs with one of the components, the animals show a deficit in relearning only the component but not the mixture. Our results reveal a previously unknown mechanism of unconscious memory due to irreplaceable neuronal commitment under general anesthesia and support the notion that general anesthesia acts at stages beyond cellular coding to disrupt sensory integration for higher-order association.

PMID:
27628686
PMCID:
PMC5024337
DOI:
10.1038/srep33538
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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