Sunday, April 21, 2024

DD Insider

Researchers shed light on how brain wakes up from anesthesia

March 23, 2024 8:38 PM IST

Anesthesia | brain | mayo clinic

A recent study conducted by Mayo Clinic, published in Nature Neuroscience, sheds light on the fascinating role of microglia in the process of waking up from anesthesia. This groundbreaking research opens up new possibilities for treating complications that arise post-anesthesia.

Delirium, a common side effect characterised by excessive sleepiness or hyperactivity, affects more than one-third of patients after emerging from anaesthesia. Mayo Clinic researchers discovered that microglia, specialised immune cells in the brain, play a crucial role in protecting neurons from these side effects, thus aiding in brain awakening.

Dr. Long-Jun Wu, a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic and the senior author of the study, stated, “This is the first time we’ve seen microglia enhance and boost neuronal activity by physically engaging the brain circuits.”

The study observed microglia wedging between neurons and inhibitory synapses, suppressing neural activity under anaesthesia. This protective mechanism by microglia helps counteract sedation effects and facilitates the awakening process.

Microglia are essential for maintaining brain health, stability, and functionality. While these cells were discovered over a century ago, recent advancements in technology have allowed researchers like Dr. Wu and his team to study them in greater detail. They have observed how microglia move and interact actively within the brain environment, monitoring neural activity and responding to changes.

Dr. Wu’s research also delves into the communication between microglia and neurons in both healthy and unhealthy brains. 

Previous findings showed that microglia can dampen neuronal hyperactivity during conditions like epilepsy seisures. In the case of anaesthesia-induced suppression of brain activity, microglia become more active and vigilant, akin to police officers patrolling during quiet hours.

Koichiro Haruwaka, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a senior research fellow at Mayo Clinic, emphasized the potential applications of this research in improving patient care. Understanding the role of microglia in different physiological states, such as sleep, could lead to enhanced strategies for managing complications like delirium and agitation post-anaesthesia.

(ANI inputs)

Copyright © 2024 DD India. All rights reserved

Visitors: 781211

Last updated on: 21st April 2024