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Curr Drug Targets. 2013 Jan 1;14(1):74-80.

Neuroprotection & mechanism of ethanol in stroke and traumatic brain injury therapy: new prospects for an ancient drug.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 550 E. Canfield Rd., Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Effective efforts to screen for agents that protect against the devastating effects of stroke have not produced viable results thus far. As a result this article reviews the possible role of ethanol as a neuroprotective agent in stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Previous studies have associated ethanol consumption with a decreased risk of ischemic stroke, suggesting a neuroprotective mechanism. The translation of this clinical knowledge into basic science research with the goal of new therapy for acute stroke patients remains in its initial stages. In a recent study involving rats, we have shown that ethanol administration, in the correct dose after stroke onset, protects against ischemia-induced brain injury. The purpose of this paper is to discuss ethanol's neuroprotective properties in stroke when consumed as a preconditioning agent, in TBI with a positive blood alcohol content, and finally in stroke treatment, with the goal of using post-ischemia ethanol (PIE) therapy to ameliorate brain damage in the future.

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