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Electroacupuncture Ameliorates Propofol-Induced Cognitive Impairment via an Opioid Receptor-Independent Mechanism

    https://doi.org/10.1142/S0192415X16500385Cited by:24 (Source: Crossref)

    While general anesthesia is known to induce cognitive deficits in elderly and pediatric patients, its influence on adults is less well-characterized. The present study was designed to evaluate the influence of propofol on the learning and memory of young adult rats, as well as the potential neuroprotective role of electroacupuncture (EA) in propofol-induced cognitive impairment. Intravenous anesthesia with propofol was administered to young adult male Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats for 6 h, and EA was administered three times before and after anesthesia. The Morris Water Maze (MWM) test was conducted to determine the rat’s cognitive performance following the anesthesia treatment. Our results showed that propofol induced obvious cognitive impairment in young adult rats, which could be ameliorated by multiple EA treatments. Moreover, the decreased level of phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase 3 β (pGSK-3β) in the CA1 region of the hippocampus accompanying the cognitive impairment was also reversed by EA treatment. Further experiments demonstrated that neither 2 nor 10 mg/kg (I.P.) naloxone blocked the effect of EA, indicating that the neuroprotective effect of EA on propofol-induced cognitive impairment was not mediated via the opioid receptors. The present study suggests that EA could ameliorate the cognitive impairment induced by prolonged anesthesia with propofol in young adult rats, which is likely associated with pGSK-3β levels in the CA1 independently of opioid receptors. These findings imply that EA may be used as a potential neuroprotective therapy for post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD).

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