Isoflurane exposure leads to apoptosis of neurons and oligodendrocytes in 20- and 40-day old rhesus macaques

Katie J. Schenning, Kevin K. Noguchi, Lauren Drew Martin, Francesca M. Manzella, Omar H. Cabrera, Gregory A. Dissen, Ansgar M. Brambrink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Previously we reported that a 5-hour exposure of 6-day-old (P6) rhesus macaques to isoflurane triggers robust neuron and oligodendrocyte apoptosis. In an attempt to further describe the window of vulnerability to anesthetic neurotoxicity, we exposed P20 and P40 rhesus macaques to 5 h of isoflurane anesthesia or no exposure (control animals). Brains were collected 3 h later and examined immunohistochemically to analyze neuronal and glial apoptosis. Brains exposed to isoflurane displayed neuron and oligodendrocyte apoptosis distributed throughout cortex and white matter, respectively. When combining the two age groups (P20 + P40), the animals exposed to isoflurane had 3.6 times as many apoptotic cells as the control animals. In the isoflurane group, approximately 66% of the apoptotic cells were oligodendrocytes and 34% were neurons. In comparison, in our previous studies on P6 rhesus macaques, approximately 52% of the dying cells were glia and 48% were neurons. In conclusion, the present data suggest that the window of vulnerability for neurons is beginning to close in the P20 and P40 rhesus macaques, but continuing for oligodendrocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Apoptosis
  • Developmental anesthesia neurotoxicity
  • Isoflurane
  • Nonhuman primates
  • Pediatric anesthesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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