Newswise — BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - General anesthetic exposure during adolescence may be an environmental risk factor contributing to an enhanced susceptibility to developing alcohol use disorders, according to researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Adolescent alcohol abuse can lead to behavioral dysfunction and chronic, relapsing alcohol use disorder (AUD) in adulthood. However, not all adolescents that consume alcohol will develop an AUD; therefore, it is critical to identify neural and environmental risk factors that contribute to increases in susceptibility to AUDs following adolescent alcohol (ethanol [EtOH]) exposure. The researchers previously found that adolescent anesthetic exposure led to strikingly similar behavioral and neural effects as adolescent alcohol exposure. Therefore, they tested the hypothesis that general anesthetic exposure during early adolescence would alter EtOH responses consistent with an exacerbation of the adolescent alcohol phenotype.
This study demonstrates for the first time that early-adolescent isoflurane exposure alters EtOH sensitivity in a manner consistent with an exacerbation of adolescent-typical alcohol responding. These findings suggest that general anesthetic exposure during adolescence may be an environmental risk factor contributing to an enhanced susceptibility to developing AUDs in an already vulnerable population.
The paper, "General Anesthetic Exposure During Early Adolescence Persistently Alters Ethanol Responses," was published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.