Oxidative stress is characterized by the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and antioxidant production. It is known that ROS can cause DNA lesions, which may be related to mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. However, little is known about the lipoperoxidation, antioxidant capacity and oxidative DNA damage in patients undergoing inhaled anesthetic isoflurane (ISF) or the intravenous anesthetic propofol (PF) during surgical procedure. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of isoflurane and propofol anesthesia on DNA, lipoperoxidation and on the antioxidant capacity in patients undergoing elective surgery lasting at least 120 minutes. The Ethical Committee of the Institution approved the protocol of the study, which included 30 adult patients (both genders, 18-50 years old) classified by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) as physical status I (healthy patient with no disease other than a surgical abnormality), and who were scheduled for otorhinological surgery. Patients were randomized to receive general anesthesia with propofol (n=15) or isoflurane anesthesia (n=15). Blood samples were drawn before anesthesia (T1-baseline) and 120 minutes after the beginning of anesthesia (T2). Lymphocytes were isolated and comet assay was performed using OGG1 enzyme to detect oxidative DNA damage. Both malondialdehyde (MDA), which is a potential biomarker of oxidative stress (one of the end products of lipoperoxidation), and hydrophilic antioxidant capacity were evaluated in plasma by using a fluorescent plate reader. Despite an increased hydrophilic antioxidant capacity during anesthesia in both groups (ISF and PF), and decreased amount of oxidative DNA lesions at T2, differences between T1 and T2 were not statistically significant. Also MDA levels did not change between T1 and T2 moments or between the groups. In conclusion, none of the anesthetics (propofol or isoflurane) led to oxidative stress or caused oxidative DNA damage in ASA I patients undergoing surgical procedure.

Financial support: FAPESP (grant number 2010/05611-0) Salvadori DMF1, Braz MG1, Freire CM1, Braz LG2, Ferreira ALA3, Braz JRC2


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  • Received: 15 May 2012
  • Accepted: 15 May 2012
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