Many stressful, but not lethal, stimuli activate endogenous protective mechanisms that significantly decrease the degree of injury to subsequent injurious stimuli. This protective mechanism is termed preconditioning and tolerance. It occurs across organ systems including the brain and nervous system. Preconditioning has been investigated in cell and animal models and recently been shown to potentially occur in human brain. Learning more about these powerful endogenous neuroprotective mechanisms could help identify new approaches to treat patients with stroke and other central nervous system disorders or injury. Cell and animal models are helping us to better understand the network response of gene and protein expression that activates the neuroprotective response.

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