Subanesthetic doses of propofol induce neuroapoptosis in the infant mouse brain

Anesth Analg. 2008 Jun;106(6):1712-4. doi: 10.1213/ane.0b013e318172ba0a.


Drugs that block N-methyl-d-aspartate glutamate receptors or that promote gamma-aminobutyric acid type A inhibition trigger neuroapoptosis in the developing rodent brain. Propofol reportedly interacts with both gamma-aminobutyric acid type A and N-methyl-d-aspartate glutamate receptors, but has not been adequately evaluated for its ability to induce developmental neuroapoptosis. Here we determined that the intraperitoneal (i.p.) dose of propofol required to induce a surgical plane of anesthesia in the infant mouse is 200 mg/kg. We then administered graduated doses of propofol (25-300 mg/kg i.p.) and found that doses >or=50 mg/kg induce a significant neuroapoptosis response. We conclude that propofol induces neuroapoptosis at 1/4 the dose required for surgical anesthesia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, General / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, General / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Consciousness / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold / drug effects
  • Propofol / administration & dosage
  • Propofol / toxicity*
  • Reflex / drug effects


  • Anesthetics, General
  • Propofol