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Trends Neurosci. 2003 May;26(5):248-54.

Ischemic tolerance and endogenous neuroprotection.

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Experimental Neurology, Charite Hospital, Humboldt University, 10098 Berlin, Germany.


Practically any stimulus capable of causing injury to a tissue or organ can, when applied close to (but below) the threshold of damage, activate endogenous protective mechanisms--thus potentially lessening the impact of subsequent, more severe stimuli. A sub-threshold ischemic insult applied to the brain, for example, activates certain cellular pathways that can help to reduce damage caused by subsequent ischemic episodes--a phenomenon known as 'ischemic preconditioning' (IP) or 'ischemic tolerance' (IT). Although investigated for some time in model organisms, IP/IT has recently been shown in human brain. This opens a window into endogenous neuroprotection and, potentially, a window of opportunity to utilize these mechanisms in the clinic to treat patients with stroke and other CNS disorders.

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