Role of sodium channel inhibition in neuroprotection: effect of vinpocetine.

Bonoczk P, Gulyas B, Adam-Vizi V, Nemes A, Karpati E, 
Kiss B, Kapas M, Szantay C, Koncz I, Zelles T, Vas A.

Chemical Works of Gedeon Richter Ltd., Budapest, Hungary
Brain Res Bull 2000 Oct;53(3):245-54


Vinpocetine (ethyl apovincaminate) discovered during the late 1960s has successfully been used in the treatment of central nervous system disorders of cerebrovascular origin for decades. The increase in the regional cerebral blood flow in response to vinpocetine administration is well established and strengthened by new diagnostical techniques (transcranial Doppler, near infrared spectroscopy, positron emission tomography). The latest in vitro studies have revealed the effect of the compound on Ca(2+)/calmodulin dependent cyclic guanosine monophosphate-phosphodiesterase 1, voltage-operated Ca(2+) channels, glutamate receptors and voltage dependent Na(+)-channels; the latest being especially relevant to the neuroprotective action of vinpocetine.  The good brain penetration profile and heterogenous brain distribution pattern (mainly in the thalamus, basal ganglia and visual cortex) of labelled vinpocetin were demonstrated by positron emission tomography in primates and man.  Multicentric, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical studies proved the efficacy of orally administered vinpocetin in patients with organic psychosyndrome. Recently positron emission tomography studies have proved that vinpocetine is able to redistribute regional cerebral blood flow and enhance glucose supply of brain tissue in ischemic post-stroke patients.

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