Effect of Continuous Propofol Infusion in Rat on Tau Phosphorylation with or without Temperature Control

Chunxia Huang, Olivia Tsz Wa Ng, Yuen Shan Ho, Michael Garnet Irwin, Raymond Chuen Chung Chang, Gordon Tin Chun Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Several studies suggest a relationship between anesthesia-induced tau hyperphosphorylation and the development of postoperative cognitive dysfunction. This study further characterized the effects of continuous propofol infusion on tau protein phosphorylation in rats, with or without temperature control. Propofol was administered intravenously to 8-10-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats and infused to the loss of the righting reflex for 2 h continuously. Proteins from cortex and hippocampus were examined by western blot and immunohistochemistry. Rectal temperature was significantly decreased during propofol infusion. Propofol with hypothermia significantly increased phosphorylation of tau at AT8, AT180, Thr205, and Ser199 in cortex and hippocampus except Ser396. With temperature maintenance, propofol still induced significant elevation of AT8, Thr205, and Ser199 in cortex and hippocampus; however, increase of AT180 and Ser396 was only found in hippocampus and cortex, respectively. Differential effects of propofol with or without hypothermia on multiple tau related kinases, such as Akt/GSK3β, MAPK pathways, or phosphatase (PP2A), were demonstrated in region-specific manner. These findings indicated that propofol increased tau phosphorylation under both normothermic and hypothermic conditions, and temperature control could partially attenuate the hyperphosphorylation of tau. Further studies are warranted to determine the long-term impact of propofol on the tau pathology and cognitive functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-226
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2016


  • Hypothermia
  • propofol
  • protein kinases
  • tau phosphorylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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