News Release

Improving memory deficits following anesthesia

Peer-Reviewed Publication

JCI Journals

General anesthesia results in expended cognitive decline for many individuals following surgical procedure. Memory deficits can last for months and affect patient outcome and quality of life. Patient age, duration of surgery, and surgical trauma are all risk factors for postoperative cognitive impairment. A new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation demonstrates that general anesthesia results in sustained activation of receptors that inhibit brain function. Beverly Orser and colleagues at the University of Toronto found that a single dose of anesthetic impaired memory in mice for up to 3 days. Mice had reduced synaptic plasticity due to increased activation of γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptors (GABAARs). Importantly, inhibition of GABAARs reversed memory defects in animals given anesthesia. The results from this study suggest that GABAAR inhibition should be further explored for treating anesthesia induced memory defects.



Sustained increase in α5GABA(A) receptor function impairs memory after anesthesia


Beverley A. Orser
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, CAN
Phone: 416-978-0574; E-mail:

View this article at:

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.