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J Exp Pharmacol. 2015 Oct 1;7:17-28. doi: 10.2147/JEP.S63544. eCollection 2015.

Current knowledge on the neuroprotective and neuroregenerative properties of citicoline in acute ischemic stroke.

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Department of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Medical Genetics, Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow, Russia.


Ischemic stroke is one of the leading causes of long-lasting disability and death. Two main strategies have been proposed for the treatment of ischemic stroke: restoration of blood flow by thrombolysis or mechanical thrombus extraction during the first few hours of ischemic stroke, which is one of the most effective treatments and leads to a better functional and clinical outcome. The other direction of treatment, which is potentially applicable to most of the patients with ischemic stroke, is neuroprotection. Initially, neuroprotection was mainly targeted at protecting gray matter, but during the past few years there has been a transition from a neuron-oriented approach toward salvaging the whole neurovascular unit using multimodal drugs. Citicoline is a multimodal drug that exhibits neuroprotective and neuroregenerative effects in a variety of experimental and clinical disorders of the central nervous system, including acute and chronic cerebral ischemia, intracerebral hemorrhage, and global cerebral hypoxia. Citicoline has a prolonged therapeutic window and is active at various temporal and biochemical stages of the ischemic cascade. In acute ischemic stroke, citicoline provides neuroprotection by attenuating glutamate exitotoxicity, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and blood-brain barrier dysfunction. In the subacute and chronic phases of ischemic stroke, citicoline exhibits neuroregenerative effects and activates neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, and angiogenesis and enhances neurotransmitter metabolism. Acute and long-term treatment with citicoline is safe and in most clinical studies is effective and improves functional outcome.


cell membranes; ischemic stroke; neuroprotection; neuroregeneration; oxidative stress

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