Immunomodulatory lipid mediator profiling of cerebrospinal fluid following surgery in older adults.


Arachidonic acid (AA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) derived lipids play key roles in initiating and resolving inflammation. Neuro-inflammation is thought to play a causal role in perioperative neurocognitive disorders, yet the role of these lipids in the human central nervous system in such disorders is unclear. Here we used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to quantify AA, DHA, and EPA derived lipid levels in non-centrifuged cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), centrifuged CSF pellets, and centrifuged CSF supernatants of older adults obtained before, 24 h and 6 weeks after surgery. GAGE analysis was used to determine AA, DHA and EPA metabolite pathway changes over time. Lipid mediators derived from AA, DHA and EPA were detected in all sample types. Postoperative lipid mediator changes were not significant in non-centrifuged CSF (p > 0.05 for all three pathways). The AA metabolite pathway showed significant changes in centrifuged CSF pellets and supernatants from before to 24 h after surgery (p = 0.0000247, p = 0.0155 respectively), from before to 6 weeks after surgery (p = 0.0000497, p = 0.0155, respectively), and from 24 h to 6 weeks after surgery (p = 0.0000499, p = 0.00363, respectively). These findings indicate that AA, DHA, and EPA derived lipids are detectable in human CSF, and the AA metabolite pathway shows postoperative changes in centrifuged CSF pellets and supernatants.





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Publication Info

Terrando, Niccolò, John J Park, Michael Devinney, Cliburn Chan, Mary Cooter, Pallavi Avasarala, Joseph P Mathew, Quintin J Quinones, et al. (2021). Immunomodulatory lipid mediator profiling of cerebrospinal fluid following surgery in older adults. Scientific reports, 11(1). p. 3047. 10.1038/s41598-021-82606-5 Retrieved from

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Niccolò Terrando

Professor of Anesthesiology

Michael Devinney

Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

My work uses translational neuroscience approaches, such as cerebrospinal fluid molecular assays, sleep EEG, cognitive testing, and delirium assessment to identify mechanisms of delirium. Delirium is a syndrome of disrupted attention and consciousness that occurs in ~20% of the >19 million older surgery patients and ~50% of the >5 million intensive care unit (ICU) patients in the United States every year. Delirium is also associated with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD), yet there are no FDA-approved drugs to prevent it, due to a major gap in our understanding of its underlying mechanisms.  Our current work aims to discover potential mechanisms of delirium that could be targeted in future studies. We have recently found that increased blood-brain barrier dysfunction is associated with postoperative delirium, but it is unknown what inflammatory mediators actually cross the disrupted blood-brain barrier to drive delirium. Using mass spectrometry proteomics, we are examining the relationship of proteins and inflammatory markers found in the cerebrospinal fluid 24-hours following surgery with postoperative delirium. We are also interested in strategies that potentially protect the blood-brain barrier following surgery. Since sleep disruptions can cause blood-brain barrier dysfunction, we are conducting a study to determine the efficacy of suvorexant to improve postoperative sleep and reduce delirium severity in older surgical patients. Finally, we are working to extend these investigations to ICU patients, who are often more severely affected by delirium and more frequently develop long-term sequelae such as post-ICU long-term cognitive impairment (that is similar in magnitude to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias).


Chi Wei Cliburn Chan

Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Computational immunology (stochastic and spatial models and simulations, T cell signaling, immune regulation)
Statistical methodology for immunological laboratory techniques (flow cytometry, CFSE analysis, receptor-ligand binding and signaling kinetics)
Informatics of the immune system (reference and application ontologies, meta-programming, text mining and machine learning)


Joseph P. Mathew

Jerry Reves, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Cardiac Anesthesiology

Current research interests include:
1. The relationship between white matter patency, functional connectivity (fMRI) and neurocognitive function following cardiac surgery.
2. The relationship between global and regional cortical beta-amyloid deposition and postoperative cognitive decline.
3. The effect of lidocaine infusion upon neurocognitive function following cardiac surgery.
4. The association between genotype and outcome after cardiac surgery.
5. Atrial fibrillation following cardiopulmonary bypass.

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