Anesthetic agents induce cellular stress that may affect blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability permeability in
the developing brain causing brain dysfunction. In this investigation, effects of Propofol on cellualr stress using inducible
heat shock protein (HSP72) and BBB breakdown employing albumin immunoreactivity in the mouse brain were
examined. Propofol was administered to in mice on the postnatal day 10 once (10 mg/kg or 60 mg/kg subcutaneously). On
the 75th day, HSP72 and albumin immunostaining were examined on 3-µm thick paraffin sections in the midbrain areas
using standard protocol. Saline-treated and age-matched mice served as controls. Propofol dose-dependently produced a
significant increase in the number of HSP72 and albumin-positive cells in cortex, hippocampus, thalamus and
hypothalamus, a feature not seen in the saline-treated group. HSP72 and albumin activity in the propofol-treated group
was largely confined to neurons and often localized to their cell cytoplasm and/or nucleus. HSP72 and albumin expression
was the most prominent in cerebral cortex and in hippocampus, followed by hypothalamus and thalamus. These novel
observations suggest that anesthetic agents, by inducing cellular stress in the developing brain may disrupt the BBB
permeability that may have long lasting effects on adult brain function.
Keywords: Albumin, blood-brain barrier, developing brain, heat shock protein, propofol.
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