Send to

Choose Destination
Anesthesiology. 2018 Jul;129(1):118-130. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000002229.

Noninvasive Tracking of Anesthesia Neurotoxicity in the Developing Rodent Brain.

Author information

From the Department of Anesthesiology (R.M., G.E.) the Department of Psychology (J.R.) the Center for Developmental Genetics (G.E.), Stony Brook Medicine, Stony Brook, New York the Department of Anesthesiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut (H.L., H.B.).



Potential deleterious effect of multiple anesthesia exposures on the developing brain remains a clinical concern. We hypothesized that multiple neonatal anesthesia exposures are more detrimental to brain maturation than an equivalent single exposure, with more pronounced long-term behavioral consequences. We designed a translational approach using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in rodents, noninvasively tracking the neuronal marker N-acetyl-aspartate, in addition to tracking behavioral outcomes.


Trajectories of N-acetyl-aspartate in anesthesia naïve rats (n = 62, postnatal day 5 to 35) were determined using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, creating an "N-acetyl-aspartate growth chart." This chart was used to compare the effects of a single 6-h sevoflurane exposure (postnatal day 7) to three 2-h exposures (postnatal days 5, 7, 10). Long-term effects on behavior were separately examined utilizing novel object recognition, open field testing, and Barnes maze tasks.


Utilizing the N-acetyl-aspartate growth chart, deviations from the normal trajectory were documented in both single and multiple exposure groups, with z-scores (mean ± SD) of -0.80 ± 0.58 (P = 0.003) and -1.87 ± 0.58 (P = 0.002), respectively. Behavioral testing revealed that, in comparison with unexposed and single-exposed, multiple-exposed animals spent the least time with the novel object in novel object recognition (F(2,44) = 4.65, P = 0.015), traveled the least distance in open field testing (F(2,57) = 4.44, P = 0.016), but exhibited no learning deficits in the Barnes maze.


Our data demonstrate the feasibility of using the biomarker N-acetyl-aspartate, measured noninvasively using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, for longitudinally monitoring anesthesia-induced neurotoxicity. These results also indicate that the neonatal rodent brain is more vulnerable to multiple anesthesia exposures than to a single exposure of the same cumulative duration.

[Available on 2019-07-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center