Anesthetics fragment hippocampal network activity, alter spine dynamics, and affect memory consolidation

Journal: PLOS Biology

Published: 2021-04-01

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001146

Affiliations: 5

Authors: 11

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Research Highlight

Anaesthetics leave impact on brain’s memory centre



Different general anaesthetics affect the brain’s memory centre differently — a finding that will help inform the choice of anaesthetic drug regimens in animal research and clinical practice.

Medications that put people in a sleep-like state before surgery are meant to cause transient memory loss during the period of drug-induced unconsciousness, but long-term memory impairment is an unfortunate side effect of many general anaesthetics.

To understand why, ten University of Hamburg researchers and a collaborator monitored brain activity in mice treated with three drug combinations commonly used to anesthetize lab animals and humans.

Focusing on the hippocampus, a brain region central to memory formation and consolidation, the researchers found that each anaesthetic regimen altered network dynamics and synaptic connectivity in its own way, with impacts on memory storage and performance.

Supported content

  1. PLoS Biology 19, e3001146 (2021). doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001146
Institutions Share
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), UHH, Germany 0.91
Indiana University Bloomington (IUB), United States of America (USA) 0.09