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Anesthesiology and Pain Management - Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience

Isoflurane Induces Endothelial Apoptosis of the Post-Hypoxic Blood-Brain Barrier in a Transdifferentiated Human Umbilical Vein Edothelial Cell Model
Published: Monday, June 18, 2012
Author: Michael S. Dittmar et al.

by Michael S. Dittmar, Walter Petermichl, Felix Schlachetzki, Bernhard M. Graf, Michael Gruber

Isoflurane is a popular volatile anesthetic agent used in humans as well as in experimental animal research. In previous animal studies of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), observations towards an increased permeability after exposure to isoflurane are reported. In this study we investigated the effect of a 2-hour isoflurane exposure on apoptosis of the cerebral endothelium following 24 hours of hypoxia in an in vitro BBB model using astrocyte-conditioned human umbilical vein endothelial cells (AC-HUVECs). Apoptosis of AC-HUVECs was investigated using light microscopy of the native culture for morphological changes, Western blot (WB) analysis of Bax and Bcl-2, and a TUNEL assay. Treatment of AC-HUVECs with isoflurane resulted in severe cellular morphological changes and a significant dose-dependent increase in DNA fragmentation, which was observed during the TUNEL assay analysis. WB analysis confirmed increases in pro-apoptotic Bax levels at 4 hours and 24 hours and decreases in anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 in a dose-dependent manner compared with the control group. These negative effects of isoflurane on the BBB after a hypoxic challenge need to be taken into account not only in experimental stroke research, but possibly also in clinical practice.