Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Consequences vary from mild cognitive impairment to death and, no matter the severity of subsequent sequelae, it represents a high burden for affected patients and for the health care system. Brain trauma can cause neuronal death through mechanical forces that disrupt cell architecture, and other secondary consequences through mechanisms such as inflammation, oxidative stress, programmed cell death, and, most importantly, excitotoxicity. This review aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the many classical and novel pathways implicated in tissue damage following TBI. We summarize the preclinical evidence of potential therapeutic interventions and describe the available clinical evaluation of novel drug targets such as vitamin B12 and ifenprodil, among others.
Keywords: GABA; NMDA receptor; astrocyte; calcium; excitotoxicity; neuroinflammation; novel therapeutics; oxidative stress; traumatic brain injury; vitamin B12.