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Ann Card Anaesth. 2019 Apr-Jun;22(2):122-135. doi: 10.4103/aca.ACA_111_18.

A complete review of preclinical and clinical uses of the noble gas argon: Evidence of safety and protection.

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Department of Cardiovascular Research, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Milan, Italy.


The noble gas argon (Ar) is a "biologically" active element and has been extensively studied preclinically for its organ protection properties. This work reviews all preclinical studies employing Ar and describes the clinical uses reported in literature, analyzing 55 pertinent articles found by means of a search on PubMed and Embase. Ventilation with Ar has been tested in different models of acute disease at concentrations ranging from 20% to 80% and for durations between a few minutes up to days. Overall, lesser cell death, smaller infarct size, and better functional recovery after ischemia have been repeatedly observed. Modulation of the molecular pathways involved in cell survival, with resulting anti-apoptotic and pro-survival effects, appeared as the determinant mechanism by which Ar fulfills its protective role. These beneficial effects have been reported regardless of onset and duration of Ar exposure, especially after cardiac arrest. In addition, ventilation with Ar was safe both in animals and humans. Thus, preclinical and clinical data support future clinical studies on the role of inhalatory Ar as an organ protector.


Argon; cardiac arrest; ischemia-reperfusion injury; neuroprotection

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