Hippocampal glutamate level and glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST) are up-regulated in senior rat associated with isoflurane-induced spatial learning/memory impairment.Neurochem Res 2013; 38(1):59-73NR
Postoperative cognitive decline is a clinical concern especially for senior patients. It is generally recognized that glutamatergic system plays a crucial role in the physiopathologic process of neurocognitive deterioration. However, alterations of glutamatergic system in prolonged isoflurane-induced learning/memory decline are still unclear. This study investigates the question whether glutamate concentration and corresponding transporters or receptors display any alternations in aged rat suffering from isoflurane-induced learning/memory impairment. 111 male Sprague-Dawley rats (>18 months) were randomly divided into two main groups: hippocampal microdialysis group (n = 38) and western blotting group (n = 73). Each group was subdivided into three subgroups including (1) control subgroup (n = 6 and 10, receiving no behavioral trial, anesthesia or air exposure); (2) air-exposed subgroup (n = 7 and 15, receiving behavioral trial and air exposure but not anesthesia); (3) isoflurane anesthesia subgroup (n = 25 and 48, receiving both behavioral trial and anesthesia). The isoflurane-exposed rats were further divided into a learning/memory-impaired subgroup and a non-learning/memory-impaired subgroup according to their behavioral performance, which was measured using Morris water maze. Hippocampal glutamate concentrations in microdialysates were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Expression levels of GLAST, GLT-1, NMDAR1, NMDAR2A/B, AMPAR and tau in hippocampus were assessed via quantitative Western blotting. The incidences of learning/memory impairment of isoflurane-exposed rats in hippocampal microdialysis group and western blotting group were 12.0 (3/25) and 10.4 % (5/48) respectively. The intra-anesthesia hippocampal glutamate levels were significantly lower than those of non-anesthesized rats. The learning/memory-impaired rats showed a long-lasting increased glutamate level from 24 h after isoflurane exposure to the end of the study, but the other 22 isoflurane-exposed rats did not. The learning/memory-impaired subgroup displayed a significantly higher GLAST level than the other three subgroups (p = 0.026, 0.02 and 0.032 respectively). The expression levels of GLT-1, NMDAR1, NMDAR2A/B and AMPAR of every subgroup were comparable. We found a continuous raised hippocampal glutamate and an up-regulation of GLAST rather than GLT-1, NMDAR1, NMDAR2A/B, AMPAR or tau in hippocampus of aged rats associated with isoflurane-induced learning/memory impairment.