Chinese Medical Sciences Journal ›› 2015, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (2): 100-107.doi: 10.1016/S1001-9294(15)30020-1

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Propofol can Protect Against the Impairment of Learning-memory Induced by Electroconvulsive Shock via Tau Protein Hyperphosphorylation in Depressed Rats

Wan-fu Liu1, Chao Liu2, *   

  1. 1Department of Anesthesiology, Fuzhou General Hospital of the People's Liberation Army Nanjing Military Region, Fujian 350025, China;
    2Department of Anesthesiology, Tianjin Chest Hospital, Tianjin 300222, China
  • Received:2015-01-03 Published:2015-07-02 Online:2015-07-02
  • Contact: *Corresponding author Tel: 86-18102022730, E-mail:

Objective To explore the possible neurophysiologic mechanisms of propofol and N-methyl-D- aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist against learning-memory impairment of depressed rats without olfactory bulbs.Methods Models of depressed rats without olfactory bulbs were established. For the factorial design in analysis of variance, two intervention factors were included: electroconvulsive shock groups (with and without a course of electroconvulsive shock) and drug intervention groups [intraperotoneal (ip) injection of saline, NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 and propofol. A total of 60 adult depressed rats without olfactory bulbs were randomly divided into 6 experimental groups (n=10 per group): ip injection of 5 ml saline; ip injection of 5 ml of 10 mg/kg MK-801; ip injection of 5 ml of 10 mg/kg MK-801 and a course of electroconvulsive shock; ip injection of 5 ml of 200 mg/kg propofol; ip injection of 5 ml of 200 mg/kg propofol and a course of electroconvulsive shock; and ip injection of 5 ml saline and a course of electroconvulsive shock. The learning-memory abilities of the rats was evaluated by the Morris water maze test. The content of glutamic acid in the hippocampus was detected by high-performance liquid chromatography. The expressions of p-AT8Ser202 in the hippocampus were determined by Western blot analysis.Results Propofol, MK-801 or electroconvulsive shock alone induced learning-memory impairment in depressed rats, as proven by extended evasive latency time and shortened space probe time. Glutamic acid content in the hippocampus of depressed rats was significantly up-regulated by electroconvulsive shock and down-regulated by propofol, but MK-801 had no significant effect on glutamic acid content. Levels of phosphorylated Tau protein p-AT8Ser202 in the hippocampus was up-regulated by electroconvulsive shock but was reduced by propofol and MK-801 alone. Propofol prevented learning-memory impairment and reduced glutamic acid content and p-AT8Ser202 levels induced by electroconvulsive shock.Conclusion Electroconvulsive shock might reduce learning-memory impairment caused by protein Tau hyperphosphorylation in depressed rats by down-regulating glutamate content.

Key words: propofol, Tau protein, learning-memory abilities, glutamate, electroconvulsive therapy


△Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation (30972831) and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2013M530880)

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