This study used male Sprague Dawley rats (aged 2 months, 200-250 g), which were purchased from Chengdu DaShuo Experimental Animal Co., Ltd. in Chengdu, China. All experiments conformed to the guidelines published by the Ethics Committee for Animal Experiments of Chengdu Medical College (in accordance with the standards formulated by the national ministerial Experimental Animal Management Committee). All rats were housed under controlled conditions on the ambient temperature of 23°C ± 2°C, relative humidity of 50%, sufficient water and food, and a 12 h light/dark cycle. To eliminate the influence of environmental discomfort in rats, we began the experiment 7 days later.

To explore the role of MR in POCD, we divided 108 rats into groups: control group (C, n = 12), anesthesia group (A1, A2, A3, A7, n = 12/group, 1, 2, 3, 7 represented the day after the anesthesia), and surgery group (S1, S2, S3, S7, n = 12/group, 1, 2, 3, 7 represented the day after the surgery) (Figure (Figure1A).1A). Moreover, to detect whether EPL could improve the cognitive dysfunction, we randomly assigned other rats to three groups: Control group (C, n = 12), Surgery and EPL treatment group (S+E, n = 12), Surgery group (S, treatment with the same amount of normal saline, n = 12) (Figure (Figure11B).

Experimental design and grouping. (A) To explore the role of MR in POCD, we divided 108 animals into groups: control group (C, n = 12), anesthesia group (A1, A2, A3, A7, n = 12/group), and surgery group (S1, S2, S3, S7, n = 12/group). (B) To explore the role of EPL in POCD, we divide them into Control group (C, n = 12), Surgery and EPL treatment group (S+E, n = 12), and Surgery group (S, treatment with the same amount of normal saline, n = 12).

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