Metabolic Failure, Oxidative Stress, and Neurodegeneration Following Cerebral Ischemia and Reperfusion

  • Gary Fiskum
  • Robert E. Rosenthal
Part of the GWUMC Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Spring Symposia book series (GWUN)


In the United States, 650,000 people die annually from cardiac disease; cardiac arrest accounts for 2/3 (435,000) of these deaths. If an individual suffers a cardiac arrest outside the hospital, he has less than a 15% chance of leaving the hospital alive.1 Even if one survives initial resuscitative efforts, damage to the brain occurring during ischemia and reperfusion often results in neurologic morbidity or mortality. In one recent study of 262 initially comatose survivors of cardiac arrest, 79% of the patients had died within one year; cerebral failure was the cause of death in 37% of cases. Only 14% of patients were either neurologically normal or slightly impaired at 12 months.2 Recent advances in preclinical research on brain injury due to transient, global cerebral ischemia have demonstrated that at least four classes of interrelated molecular mechanisms contribute to ischemic neurological impairment. These classes are excitotoxicity, cellular calcium overload, metabolic failure and oxidative stress. This brief review focuses on mechanisms falling within the last two of these classifications.


Electron Spin Resonance Cerebral Ischemia Glutamine Synthetase Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Hyperbaric Oxygen 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary Fiskum
    • 1
  • Robert E. Rosenthal
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Emergency MedicineThe George Washington University Medical CenterUSA

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