Neurochemical Research

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 467–475 | Cite as

Carnosine Protects Against the Neurotoxic Effects of a Serotonin-Derived Melanoid

  • Tanner D. Brownrigg
  • Christopher S. Theisen
  • Eugene E. Fibuch
  • Norbert W. Seidler
Original Paper


Anesthesia-related postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) leads to morbidity in the elderly. Lipid peroxidative byproducts (i.e. acrolein) accumulate in aging and may play a role. Sevoflurane, an inhaled anesthetic, sequesters acrolein and enhances the formation of a serotonin-derived melanoid (SDM). SDM may be a biologically relevant polymeric melanoid that we previously showed exhibits redox activity and disrupts lipid bilayers. In this study, we examined the toxicity of SDM in cell culture and looked at protection using L-carnosine. SDM’s toxic effects were tested on neuronal-like SH-SY5Y cells, causing an exponential decrease in viability, while human dermal fibroblasts were completely resistant to the toxic effects. SDM brought about morphological changes to differentiated SH-SY5Y cells, particularly to neuronal processes. Co- but not pre-treatment with L-carnosine protected differentiated SH-SY5Y cells exposed to SDM. Our mechanism suggests focal sevoflurane-induced sequestration of age-related acrolein leading to SDM synthesis and neuronal impairment, which is prevented by L-carnosine.


Postoperative cognitive dysfunction L-Carnosine Serotonin Acrolein Neurotoxicity Inhaled anesthetics 



This study was supported in part by research funds from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and the Department of Anesthesiology, University of Missouri, Kansas City/Saint Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri. The authors acknowledge Jessica Kim and Rachel High for participating in some of the experiments. The authors thank Drs. Asma Zaidi and Alex Shnyra for providing cells and technical advice.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanner D. Brownrigg
    • 1
  • Christopher S. Theisen
    • 2
  • Eugene E. Fibuch
    • 1
  • Norbert W. Seidler
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City School of MedicineKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryKansas City University of Medicine and BiosciencesKansas CityUSA

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