, 2:20,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 17 Aug 2012

Propofol and magnesium attenuate isoflurane-induced caspase-3 activation via inhibiting mitochondrial permeability transition pore



The inhalation anesthetic isoflurane has been shown to open the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) and induce caspase activation and apoptosis, which may lead to learning and memory impairment. Cyclosporine A, a blocker of mPTP opening might attenuate the isoflurane-induced mPTP opening, lessening its ripple effects. Magnesium and anesthetic propofol are also mPTP blockers. We therefore set out to determine whether propofol and magnesium can attenuate the isoflurane-induced caspase activation and mPTP opening.


We investigated the effects of magnesium sulfate (Mg2+), propofol, and isoflurane on the opening of mPTP and caspase activation in H4 human neuroglioma cells stably transfected to express full-length human amyloid precursor protein (APP) (H4 APP cells) and in six day-old wild-type mice, employing Western blot analysis and flowcytometry.


Here we show that Mg2+ and propofol attenuated the isoflurane-induced caspase-3 activation in H4-APP cells and mouse brain tissue. Moreover, Mg2+ and propofol, the blockers of mPTP opening, mitigated the isoflurane-induced mPTP opening in the H4-APP cells.


These data illustrate that Mg2+ and propofol may ameliorate the isoflurane-induced neurotoxicity by inhibiting its mitochondrial dysfunction. Pending further studies, these findings may suggest the use of Mg2+ and propofol in preventing and treating anesthesia neurotoxicity.