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Isoflurane but not Fentanyl Causes Apoptosis in Immature Primary Neuronal Cells

Monika Berns, Anna Christine Wolter, Christoph Bührer, Stefanie Endesfelder, Thoralf Kerner

Background:

Anaesthetics are widely used in new-borns and preterm infants, although it is known that they may adversely affect the developing brain.

Objective:

We assessed the impact of the volatile anaesthetic, isoflurane, and the intravenous analgesic, fentanyl, on immature and mature embryonic neuronal cells.

Methods:

Primary neuronal cultures from embryonic rats (E18) cultured for 5 (immature) or 15 days (mature) in vitro (DIV), respectively, were exposed to isoflurane (1.5 Vol.%) or fentanyl (0.8 - 200 ng/ml) for 24 hours. Experiments were repeated in the presence of the γ-amino butyric acid-A (GABAA) receptor antagonists, bicuculline or picrotoxin (0.1 mmol/l), or the pancaspase inhibitor zVAD-fmk (20 nmol/l). Cell viability was assessed by methyltetrazolium (MTT) metabolism or lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release.

Results:

Isoflurane reduced cell viability significantly in primary neuronal cells cultured for 5 DIV (Δ MTT -28 ±13%, Δ LDH +143 ±15%). Incubation with bicuculline, picrotoxin or zVAD-fmk protected the cells mostly from isoflurane toxicity. After 15 DIV, cell viability was not reduced by isoflurane. Viability of primary neurons cultured for 5 DIV did not change with fentanyl over the wide range of concentrations tested.

Conclusion:

Immature primary neurons may undergo apoptosis following exposure to isoflurane but are unaffected by fentanyl. Mature primary neurons were not affected by isoflurane exposure.


July 31, 2017
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