Is magnesium neuroprotective following global and focal cerebral ischaemia? : A review of published studies

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Neuroprotective activity with magnesium associated with animal models of cerebral ischaemia, seizure, perinatal hypoxia/ischaemia, subarachnoid haemorrhage and traumatic brain injury has provided the justification for clinical stroke trials. However, the recent IMAGES stroke clinical trial found magnesium to be largely ineffective. Hence, due to the negative stroke trial outcome, current FAST-MAG trial and our own experience with magnesium in cerebral ischaemia animal models, we thought it prudent to review these preclinical and clinical studies. We reviewed nine studies describing the use of magnesium following global cerebral ischaemia and fourteen following focal cerebral ischaemia. Four global ischaemia and six focal ischaemia studies did not show a significant neuroprotective effect with magnesium. In the majority of positive magnesium studies animal body temperature was not monitored post-ischaemia. Thus the effects of post-ischaemic hypothermia, cannot be ruled out as a confounding factor in positive magnesium cerebral ischaemia studies. Moreover, data from our own laboratory indicates that magnesium is only neuroprotective when combined with post-ischaemic hypothermia. These data provide a possible explanation of why the IMAGES trial was largely unsuccessful, as current stroke patient management does not involve hypothermia induction. Future preclinical and clinical cerebral ischaemia trials with magnesium should consider combining treatment with mild hypothermia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-137
JournalMagnesium Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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