Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 18946289
Anesthesiology 2008 Nov;109(5):790-8
BACKGROUND: Preexisting cognitive impairment and advanced age are factors that increase the risk of developing postoperative cognitive dysfunction. Because anesthetic agents interfere with cholinergic transmission and as impairment of cholinergic function is associated with cognitive decline, the authors studied how the volatile anesthetic sevoflurane affects exploratory and anxiety-like behavior in young and aged animals with a genetically modified cholinergic system.
METHODS: Young and aged wild-type and mutant mice lacking the beta2 subunit of the nicotinic cholinergic receptor (beta2KO) were anesthetized for 2 h with 2.6% sevoflurane in oxygen and compared with nonanesthetized controls. Locomotor activity and organization of movement in the open field model were assessed before and 24 h after anesthesia. Locomotor activity and anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze were assessed 24 h after anesthesia. High- and low-affinity nicotinic receptor and cholinergic uptake site densities were evaluated in the hippocampus, amygdala, and forebrain regions using receptor autoradiography.
RESULTS: Sevoflurane anesthesia significantly reduced locomotor activity, altered temporospatial organization of trajectories, and increased anxiety-like behavior in young beta2KO mice, whereas no such changes were observed in young wild-type mice. Aged wild-type and beta2KO mice displayed reactions that were similar, but not identical, to the reactions of young mice to sevoflurane anesthesia. However, behavioral changes were not associated with differences in nicotinic receptor or cholinergic uptake site densities.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, sevoflurane anesthesia altered exploratory and anxiety-like behavior in mice lacking the beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit.