Sevoflurane Preconditioning Alleviates Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-Induced Apoptosis in the Hippocampus via the EZH2-Regulated Akt/mTOR Axis and Improves Synaptic Plasticity

J Mol Neurosci. 2023 May;73(4-5):225-236. doi: 10.1007/s12031-023-02114-1. Epub 2023 Mar 17.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a persistent and severe psychological and mental disorder resulting from experiences of serious trauma or stress and is suffered by many individuals. Previous studies have shown that pretreatment with sevoflurane is efficient in reducing the incidence of PTSD. However, we require a more comprehensive understanding of the specific mechanisms by which sevoflurane works. Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) has been reported to be regulated by sevoflurane, and to improve patient cognition. In this study, we aimed to explore the mechanisms of sevoflurane and the role of EZH2 in PTSD cases. We explored the effects of sevoflurane and EPZ-6438 (inhibitor of EZH2) on rat behavior, followed by an investigation of EZH2 mRNA and protein expression. The effects of sevoflurane and EZH2 on neuronal survival were assessed by western blotting and TUNEL staining, while western blotting was used to examine the expression of PSD95 and the AKT/mTOR proteins. Sevoflurane preconditioning restored EZH2 expression and significantly inhibited apoptosis by regulating phosphorylation of the AKT/mTOR pathway. Synaptic plasticity was also significantly improved. These results suggest that pretreatment with sevoflurane could play an important role in PTSD prevention by regulating EZH2 expression.

Keywords: Apoptosis; EZH2; PTSD; Sevoflurane.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein / genetics
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt* / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sevoflurane / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / drug therapy
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism


  • Sevoflurane
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • mTOR protein, rat
  • EZH2 protein, rat

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