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Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2009 Aug;30(8):1071-80. doi: 10.1038/aps.2009.105. Epub 2009 Jul 20.

The neuroprotective mechanism of brain ischemic preconditioning.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Laboratory of Aging and Nervous Diseases, Soochow University School of Medicine, Suzhou 215123, China.


Brain ischemia is one of the most common causes of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the world. Brain ischemic preconditioning (BIP) refers to a transient, sublethal ischemia which results in tolerance to later, otherwise lethal, cerebral ischemia. Many attempts have been made to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the neuroprotection offered by ischemic preconditioning. Many studies have shown that neuroprotective mechanisms may involve a series of molecular regulatory pathways including activation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and adenosine receptors; activation of intracellular signaling pathways such as mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPK) and other protein kinases; upregulation of Bcl-2 and heat shock proteins (HSPs); and activation of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and the autophagic-lysosomal pathway. A better understanding of the processes that lead to cell death after stroke as well as of the endogenous neuroprotective mechanisms by which BIP protects against brain ischemic insults could help to develop new therapeutic strategies for this devastating neurological disease. The purpose of the present review is to summarize the neuroprotective mechanisms of BIP and to discuss the possibility of mimicking ischemic preconditioning as a new strategy for preventive treatment of ischemia.

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