Brain Sci. 2014, 4(2), 273-294; doi:10.3390/brainsci4020273
Review

A Double-Edged Sword: Volatile Anesthetic Effects on the Neonatal Brain

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Received: 31 January 2014; in revised form: 28 March 2014 / Accepted: 31 March 2014 / Published: 16 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotoxicity and General Anaesthetics in the Young)
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Abstract: The use of volatile anesthetics, a group of general anesthetics, is an exceedingly common practice. These anesthetics may have neuroprotective effects. Over the last decade, anesthetic induced neurotoxicity in pediatric populations has gained a certain notoriety based on pre-clinical cell and animal studies demonstrating that general anesthetics may induce neurotoxicity, including neuroapoptosis, neurodegeneration, and long-term neurocognitive and behavioral deficits. With hundreds of millions of people having surgery under general anesthesia worldwide, and roughly six million children annually in the U.S. alone, the importance of clearly defining toxic or protective effects of general anesthetics cannot be overstated. Yet, with our expanding body of knowledge, we have come to learn that perhaps not all volatile anesthetics have the same pharmacological profiles; certain ones may have a more favorable neurotoxic profile and may actually exhibit neuroprotection in specific populations and situations. Thus far, very few clinical studies exist, and have not yet been convincing enough to alter our practice. This review will provide an update on current data regarding volatile anesthetic induced neurotoxicity and neuroprotection in neonatal and infant populations. In addition, this paper will discuss ongoing studies and the trajectory of further research over the coming years.
Keywords: anesthesia; anesthetics; neuroprotection; neurotoxicity; pediatrics; volatile anesthetics; preconditioning; postconditioning; ischemic conditioning
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chiao, S.; Zuo, Z. A Double-Edged Sword: Volatile Anesthetic Effects on the Neonatal Brain. Brain Sci. 2014, 4, 273-294.

AMA Style

Chiao S, Zuo Z. A Double-Edged Sword: Volatile Anesthetic Effects on the Neonatal Brain. Brain Sciences. 2014; 4(2):273-294.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chiao, Sunny; Zuo, Zhiyi. 2014. "A Double-Edged Sword: Volatile Anesthetic Effects on the Neonatal Brain." Brain Sci. 4, no. 2: 273-294.


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