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Repeat propofol anesthesia does not exacerbate plaque deposition or synapse loss in APP/PS1 Alzheimer's disease mice

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Background: There is increasing interest in whether anesthetic agents affect the risk or progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). To mitigate many of the methodological issues encountered in human retrospective cohort studies we have used a transgenic model of AD to investigate the effect of propofol on AD pathology.

Methods: Six month-old amyloid precursor protein/presenilin 1 (APP/PS1) transgenic AD mice and control mice were exposed to 3 doses of propofol (200 mg/kg) or vehicle, delivered at monthly intervals.

Results: There was no difference in the extent of β-amyloid (Aβ) immunolabeled plaque deposition in APP/PS1 mice in vehicle versus propofol treatment groups. We also detected no difference in plaque-associated synapse loss in APP/PS1 mice following repeat propofol exposure relative to vehicle. Western blotting indicated that there was no difference in post-synaptic density protein 95, synaptophysin or glutamic acid decarboxylase 65/67 expression in control or APP/PS1 mice subjected to repeat propofol treatment relative to vehicle.

Conclusions: These data suggest that repeat propofol anesthesia may not exacerbate plaque deposition or associated synapse loss in AD. Interestingly, this data also provides some of the first evidence suggesting that repeat propofol exposure in adult wild-type mice does not result in robust long-term alterations in the levels of key excitatory and inhibitory synaptic markers.


Publication title

BMC Anesthesiology



Article number









Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre


BioMed Central Ltd.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© The Author(s) 2018. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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