The pharmacology of neurotrophic treatment with Cerebrolysin: brain protection and repair to counteract pathologies of acute and chronic neurological disorders

Drugs Today (Barc). 2012 Apr;48 Suppl A:3-24. doi: 10.1358/dot.2012.48(Suppl.A).1739716.


Neurotrophic factors are considered as part of the therapeutic strategy for neurological disorders like dementia, stroke and traumatic brain injury. Cerebrolysin is a neuropeptide preparation which mimics the action of endogenous neurotrophic factors on brain protection and repair. In dementia models, Cerebrolysin decreases β-amyloid deposition and microtubule-associated protein tau phosphorylation by regulating glycogen synthase kinase-3β and cyclin-dependent kinase 5 activity, increases synaptic density and restores neuronal cytoarchitecture. These effects protect integrity of the neuronal circuits and thus result in improved cognitive and behavioral performance. Furthermore, Cerebrolysin enhances neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus, the basis for neuronal replacement therapy in neurodegenerative diseases. Experimental studies in stroke animal models have shown that Cerebrolysin stabilizes the structural integrity of cells by inhibition of calpain and reduces the number of apoptotic cells after ischemic lesion. Cerebrolysin induces restorative processes, decreases infarct volume and edema formation and promotes functional recovery. Stroke-induced neurogenesis in the subventricular zone was also promoted by Cerebrolysin, thus supporting the brain's self-repair after stroke. Both, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury conditions stimulate the expression of natural neurotrophic factors to promote repair and regeneration processes -axonal regeneration, neuronal plasticity and neurogenesis- that is considered to be crucial for the future recovery. Neuroprotective effects of Cerebrolysin on experimentally induced traumatic spinal cord injury have shown that Cerebrolysin prevents apoptosis of lesioned motoneurons and promotes functional recovery. This section summarizes the most relevant data on the pharmacology of Cerebrolysin obtained from in vitro assays (biochemical and cell cultures) and in vivo animal models of acute and chronic neurological disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / drug therapy
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / drug therapy
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / drug effects
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology


  • Amino Acids
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • cerebrolysin