The inhalation anesthetics nitrous oxide (N2O) and isoflurane (ISO) are commonly used for general anesthesia in human infants. Combined exposures to N2O and ISO are known to cause abnormal apoptotic cell death (neurotoxicity) in pediatric animal models. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC), an anti-oxidant dietary supplement, has been reported to minimize neuronal damage in some models of neurotoxicity. MicroPET/CT imaging is capable of detecting and localizing changes in cellular markers of brain damage associated with developmental exposures to general anesthetics. By monitoring changes in glial activation, thought to be a marker of neuroinflammation, it should be possible to determine the intensity, duration and location of neuronal damage associated with exposure to general anesthetics.
Zhang X, Liu S, Paule MG, Newport GD, Callicott R, et al. (2013) Protective Effects of Acetyl L-Carnitine on Inhalation Anesthetic-Induced Neuronal Damage in the Nonhuman Primate. J Mol Pharm Org Process Res 1:102.