Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) is a complication with high morbidity and mortality, commonly observed in the elderly who underwent anesthesia and surgery. The incidence is much higher in cardiac surgery. However, the reason and the mechanism of POCD remains unclear, but cerebral hypoxia is a common neurological complication after cardiac surgery. This study aims to investigate what role cerebral hypoxia plays in the pathogenesis of POCD.
The POCD model was established using cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) surgery. Cognitive function was detected using Y maze and Morris water maze. The hypoxia in central nervous system was assessed using HE staining, western blot, and immunofluorescence. Inflammatory factors in hippocampus and plasma were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Evans blue was used to detect destruction of the blood brain barrier (BBB).
Cognitive impairment markedly occurred to rats underwent 2-h CPB operation. Cerebral thrombosis and hypoxia occurred in the hippocampal CA3 region of rats after surgery. In addition, microglia in hippocampal was activated and the expression of inflammatory factors such as IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α was upregulated. Moreover, the permeability of BBB increased in rats after CPB.
Hypoxia in hippocampal CA3 region was involved in the occurrence and the mechanism may be associated with neuroinflammation and the damage of BBB.

© 2022. The Author(s).