MiR-181a-5p knockdown ameliorates sevoflurane anesthesia-induced neuron injury via regulation of the DDX3X/Wnt/β-catenin signaling axis

Exp Brain Res. 2024 Mar;242(3):571-583. doi: 10.1007/s00221-023-06739-x. Epub 2024 Jan 13.


Sevoflurane is one of the most widely used inhaled anesthetics. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been demonstrated to affect sevoflurane anesthesia-induced neuron damage. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role and mechanism of miR-181a-5p in sevoflurane-induced hippocampal neuronal injury. Primary hippocampal neurons were identified using microscopy and immunofluorescence. The viability and apoptosis of sevoflurane anesthesia-induced neurons were detected by cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay and terminal-deoxynucleoitidyl transferase-mediated nick end-labeling (TUNEL) staining assay, respectively. The levels of apoptosis- and oxidative stress-related proteins as well as the markers in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway were examined by immunoblotting. Enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assays were performed to examine the levels of inflammatory cytokines. Luciferase reporter assay was conducted to validate the combination between miR-181a-5p and DEAD-box helicase 3, X-linked (DDX3X). Sevoflurane exposure led to significantly inhibited hippocampal neuron viability and elevated miR-181a-5p expression. Knockdown of miR-181a-5p alleviated sevoflurane-induced neuron injury by reducing cell apoptosis, inflammatory response, and oxidative stress. Additionally, DDX3X was targeted and negatively regulated by miR-181a-5p. Moreover, miR-181a-5p inhibitor activated the Wnt/β-catenin pathway via DDX3X in sevoflurane-treated cells. Rescue experiments revealed that DDX3X knockdown or overexpression of Wnt antagonist Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) reversed the suppressive effects of miR-181a-5p inhibitor on cell apoptosis, inflammatory response, and oxidative stress in sevoflurane-treated neuronal cells. MiR-181a-5p ameliorated sevoflurane-triggered neuron injury by regulating the DDX3X/Wnt/β-catenin axis, suggesting the potential of miR-181a-5p as a novel and promising therapeutic target for the treatment of sevoflurane-evoked neurotoxicity.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Hippocampal neuron; Oxidative stress; Sevoflurane; miR-181a-5p.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia*
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Proliferation
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / genetics
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Sevoflurane / pharmacology
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • beta Catenin
  • DDX3X protein, human
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases
  • MicroRNAs
  • Sevoflurane