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Recently, the long-term use of sedative agents in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has raised concerns about neurodevelopmental outcomes in exposed neonates. Midazolam (MDZ), a common neonatal sedative in the NICU, has been suggested to increase learning disturbances and cognitive impairment in children. However, molecular mechanisms contributing to such outcomes with long-term MDZ use during the early stages of life remain unclear. In this study, we for the first time elucidate the role of brain-derived extracellular vesicles (BDEVs), including mining the BDEV proteome post long-term MDZ exposure during early development. Employing our previously established rodent model system that mimics the exposure of MDZ in the NICU using an increasing dosage regimen, we isolated BDEVs from postnatal 21-days-old control and MDZ groups using a differential sucrose density gradient. BDEVs from the control and MDZ groups were then characterized using a ZetaView nanoparticle tracking analyzer and transmission electron microscopy analysis. Next, using RT-qPCR, we examined the expression of key ESCRT-related genes involved in EV biogenesis. Lastly, using quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics, we mined the BDEV protein cargo that revealed key differentially expressed proteins and associated molecular pathways to be altered post long-term MDZ exposure. Our study characterized the proteome in BDEV cargo from long-term MDZ exposure at early development. Importantly, we identified and validated the expression of YWHAH as a potential target for further characterization of its downstream mechanism and a potential biomarker for the early onset of neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative diseases. Overall, the present study demonstrated long-term exposure to MDZ at early development stages could influence BDEV protein cargo, which potentially impact neural functions and behavior at later stages of development.

MeSH Headings

Midazolam, Proteome, Hypnotics and Sedatives, Brain, Models, Biological



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.