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Xenon Up-regulates Several Genes That are not Up-regulated by Nitrous Oxide

Valleggi, Simona PhD*; Cavazzana, Andrea O. MD*; Bernardi, Rodolfo PhD; Ma, Daqing MD, PhD; Natale, Gianfranco MD§; Maze, Mervyn MB, ChB, F Med Sci; Davide, Cattano MD, PhD∥ ¶; Giunta, Francesco MD

Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology: October 2008 - Volume 20 - Issue 4 - p 226-232
doi: 10.1097/ANA.0b013e31817da878
Laboratory Investigations

Xenon and other inhalational agents induce cell and organ effects through different and only partially elucidated molecular mechanisms. In this study, we explored the gene transcription consequences of xenon exposure compared with nitrogen or nitrous oxide exposure in rat brain. Seven-day-old Sprague Dawley rats (n=24, 8 for each group) were exposed for 120 minutes to 75% xenon and 25% oxygen, 75% nitrogen and 25% oxygen (air), or 75% nitrous oxide and 25% oxygen. Using suppression subtractive hybridization, relative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and northern blot analyses of on/off gene expression, we were able to identify a set of genes that are significantly up-regulated by xenon exposure. These genes may help explain some of the molecular mechanisms that account for the neuropreconditioning effects exerted by xenon relative to nitrous oxide and air.

*Department of Oncology, Molecular Pathology Section, AUOP, S. Chiara Hospital

Department of Surgery, Division of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care

§Department of Human Morphology and Applied Biology, University of Pisa School of Medicine

Department of Agricultural Sciences, Division of Genetics, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO

Department of Anaesthetics, Pain Medicine and Intensive Care, Imperial College London, London, UK

Supported by the Italian national MIUR funds and by the Westminster Medical School Research Trust, London, UK and the Medical Research Council, London, UK. Dr. Cattano was supported by the Cromwell Research Fellowship Program at the Imperial College of London.

Conflict of Interest: Prof Maze is a paid consultant for Allentown, PA and Prof Giunta has served as a free consultant for Praxair Italy, Bergamo. Air Products is interested in developing clinical applications for medical gases, including xenon. Air Products and Praxair have funded and continue to fund work in the authors' laboratories that address the actions and uses of xenon as an anesthetic and neuroprotectant.

Reprints: Cattano Davide, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Division of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, School of Medicine, University of Pisa, Via Roma 67, Pisa 56126, Italy (e-mail:

Received for publication February 22, 2008; accepted April 24, 2008

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.