Decoding the Synaptic Proteome with Long‐Term Exposure to Midazolam during Early Development

Nghi M. Nguyen, Neetha N. Vellichirammal, Chittibabu Guda, Gurudutt Pendyala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The intensive use of anesthetic and sedative agents in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has raised controversial concerns about the potential neurodevelopmental risks. This study focused on midazolam (MDZ), a common benzodiazepine regularly used as a sedative on neonates in the NICU. Mounting evidence suggests a single exposure to MDZ during the neonatal period leads to learning disturbances. However, a knowledge gap that remains is how long‐term exposure to MDZ during very early stages of life impacts synaptic alterations. Using a preclinical rodent model system, we mimicked a dose‐escalation regimen on postnatal day 3 (P3) pups until day 21. Next, purified synaptosomes from P21 control and MDZ animals were subjected to quantitative mass‐spectrometry‐based proteomics, to identify potential proteomic signatures. Further analysis by ClueGO identified enrichment of proteins associated with actin‐binding and protein depolymer-ization process. One potential hit identified was alpha adducin (ADD1), belonging to the family of cytoskeleton proteins, which was upregulated in the MDZ group and whose expression was further validated by Western blot. In summary, this study sheds new information on the long‐term exposure of MDZ during the early stages of development impacts synaptic function, which could sub-sequently perturb neurobehavioral outcomes at later stages of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4137
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • NICU
  • alpha adducin
  • midazolam
  • neurodevelopment proteomics
  • synaptosomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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