Neuroprotection involves prevention of neuronal death by inhibiting 1 or more of the pathophysiological steps in the processes that follow brain injury or ischemia due to occlusion of a cerebral artery or neurodegenerative processes. In this clinical article, Dr. K K Jain, a neurology consultant in Basel, Switzerland, classifies various neuroprotective agents and describes a few of these. Examples of clinical conditions are given to show application of neuroprotective drugs and nonpharmacological methods.
The concept of neuroprotection is now important in many diseases that were once only treated symptomatically and in which a disease-modifying approach is desirable.
Neuroprotective agents have an important role in the management of neurodegenerative disorders as well as acute insults such as CNS trauma, cerebral ischemia, and iatrogenic hypoxia/ischemia during surgical procedures.
Neuroprotective strategies are also required to protect the brain against toxic effects of chemicals and drugs.
There are numerous neuroprotective agents from several pharmacological as well as nonpharmaceutical categories as well as those based on intrinsic neuroprotective mechanisms that come into play following injury to the brain.