Supplementary Material for: Bilirubin Production Is Increased in Newborn Mice Exposed to Isoflurane

Background: Increased bilirubin production due to hemolysis can lead to severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia and, if left untreated, to bilirubin neurotoxicity. Post-cardiac surgery newborns have been shown to be at an increased risk for developing hyperbilirubinemia and also hemolysis. Isoflurane (ISO), a volatile anesthetic agent routinely used in newborn surgery, has been reported to upregulate heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) expression. HO is the rate-limiting enzyme in the bilirubin production pathway. Objective: Here, we evaluated whether ISO exposure induces HO-1 and further increases bilirubin production in a hemolytic newborn mouse model. Methods: Three-day-old newborn mice were exposed to 2% ISO for 18 min or air. Liver HO activity and HO-1 protein were measured after exposure to ISO. Next, we evaluated the effect of ISO exposure on bilirubin production as indexed by the total body excretion rate of carbon monoxide following heme loading. Results: ISO significantly increased liver HO activity 120% and 116% at 24 and 48 h, respectively, after exposure. HO-1 protein levels also similarly increased after ISO exposure, but the increases were not statistically significant compared with controls. After heme loading, ISO-exposed pups had significantly higher bilirubin production rates (1.24-fold), and also peaked earlier, than age-matched nonexposed pups. Conclusions: ISO exposure can induce HO-1 expression in the liver and may explain the development of severe hyperbilirubinemia in postsurgical infants, especially in those undergoing hemolysis.