Neuroprotection trek—the next generation: neuromodulation II. Applications—epilepsy, nerve regeneration, neurotrophins

Russell J Andrews
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2003, 993: 14-24; discussion 48-53
Three examples of neuroprotective applications of electrical stimulation-neuromodulation-are considered: (1) the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy, (2) the augmentation of peripheral nerve regeneration after transection, and (3) the interaction between electrical stimulation and neurotrophins (notably brain derived neurotrophic factor [BDNF]) in various neuroprotective situations. The research cited demonstrates clear benefit from appropriate electrical stimulation in the treatment of (1) certain patients with medication-refractory epilepsy, and (2) the functional regeneration of peripheral nerves after transection and surgical repair. Furthermore, neuromodulation of peripheral nerve regeneration has been associated with an increase in the neurotrophin BDNF. The roles of BDNF and other neurotrophins in several disorders of the nervous system are discussed in the context of neuromodulation and its augmentation of neurotrophins. Neuromodulation-at least in part through its effect on BDNF and other neurotrophins-will likely play a major role in the treatment (and possibly prevention) of disorders of the nervous system for which neuroproteive pharmacologic agents have traditionally been sought.

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