Neuroprotective Drugs of the New Generation

Michael Young

Most of the world's population, especially those living in big cities, are exposed to constant environmental and emotional stress. It is proved that stress is not harmless to the human body. It is a risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases. Besides, stress has a negative impact on the nervous system, making a person irritable. It decreases performance, deteriorates memory and thinking processes. For this reason, researchers are looking for the ways to prevent and correct the negative effects of stress on the nervous system. Even 50 years ago the concept of neuroprotective agents appeared. It gave a powerful impetus to the search of different substances which would help people to live in the modern world.

According to the World's health organization, nootropic drugs are substances which provide an activating effect on learning abilities of the human mind, improve alertness and memory, increase resistance of the brain to such aggressive factors, as injuries, intoxication, hypoxia. The first synthesized nootropic is Piracetam which was used in the clinic by Belgian pharmacologists in 1963. During the study, researchers found that the drug significantly enhances mental performance, improves memory and promotes learning. In the future, other drugs with similar effects were synthesized.

Let us discuss the main medical effects of neuroprotective drugs. They are as follows:

  • psychostimulating;
  • sedation;
  • antiastenic (decrease feelings of weakness, lethargy, effects of mental and physical fatigue);
  • antidepressant;
  • antiepileptic;
  • nootropic (influence altered higher cortical functions which is manifested by improved thinking, speech, attention and so on);
  • pneumotropic (effect learning abilities and memory);
  • adaptogenic (increase the body's ability to resist harmful effects of the environment);
  • anti-Parkinson;
  • vegetative-vascular (improvement of cerebral blood flow, which is manifested decrease headache and dizziness, as well as the elimination of other autonomic disorders);
  • improving mental clarity and wakefulness.

These drugs do not cause pharmacological dependence and psychomotor agitation. taking these substances does not result in the depletion of the body's physical capabilities. The operation of this group of drugs is determined by such processes as activation of the processes of transmission of nerve impulses in the central nervous system via improving the synthesis of RNA and proteins; activation of energy processes in neurons; optimization of recycling processes of polysaccharides, particularly glucose; inhibition of the formation of free radicals in the cells; reduction in need of the oxygen by nerve cellsin in hypoxic conditions; membrane stabilizing effect (regulate the synthesis of proteins and phospholipids in nerve cells, stabilizing the structure of cell membranes).

Neuroprotective drugs activate the enzyme called adenylate cyclase, increasing its concentration in the nerve cells. This substance is necessary to maintain the stability of the production of the cell main energy source for the biochemical and physiological processes - adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which also translates metabolism in the brain into the optimal regime in conditions of hypoxia. Furthermore, nootropics affect neurotransmitter systems in the brain, in particular: monoaminergic (increase the content of dopamine and norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain); cholinergic (increase the content of acetylcholine in the nerve endings, which is necessary for the adequate transmission of impulses from one cell to another); glutamatergic (also improve the signal transduction from neuron to neuron).

As a result of the above mentioned effects, the patient experiences the improvement of memory, attention, thinking processes and perception processes, as well as the increase in learning abilities and activation of intellectual functions.