The Role of Inflammation in Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction

Guo-Xun Xu , Ting Yang , Niccolò Terrando
Department of Anesthesiology, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
J Anesth Perioper Med 2014; 1(2): 97- 103 . Published on Nov 25, 2014 . doi:10.24015/JAPM.2014.0015
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Aim of review: Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) is a common complication following surgery, especially in the elderly population. Surgery exposes patients to extensive trauma, blood loss, and tissue injury, all of which contribute to an inflammatory response. In recent years, inflammation has been shown to be a key contributor to the pathogenesis of cognitive decline and neuroinflammatory processes, both in animal models and initial clinical observations.

Method: We review the recent literatures on the proposed mechanisms whereby peripheral trauma leads to cognitive impairments and some of the new neuroprotective strategies that may be implemented to prevent neuroinflammation and POCD.

Recent findings: Changes in pro-inflammatory cytokines, alarmins, macrophage activation and blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction have been proven to be related to the pathogenesis of cognitive decline using a variety of models, reagents, and technologies. Strategies to harness these pathways through anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving strategies show remarkable effects in modulating neuronal function, synaptic plasticity, glia activity and memory processes.

Summary: Further studies are needed to better identify the patients at higher risk for cognitive decline in the postoperative period and which interventions may be suitable for translation and new clinical trials.



Citation: Guo-Xun Xu, Ting Yang, Niccolò Terrando. The role of inflammation in postoperative cognitive dysfunction. J Anesth Perioper Med 2014; 1: 97-103. doi: 10.24015/JAPM.2014.0015

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