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XENON in medical area: emphasis on neuroprotection in hypoxia and anesthesia

Ecem Esencan1, Simge Yuksel1, Yusuf Berk Tosun1, Alexander Robinot2, Ihsan Solaroglu1 and John H Zhang3*

Author Affiliations

1 Koc University School of Medicine, Rumelifeneri Yolu, Sariyer-Istanbul, 34450, Turkey

2 Université Lorraine Faculté de Médecine, 9 Avenue de la Forét de Haye, Vandoeuvre-lés-Nancy, 54505, France

3 Departments of Neurosurgery and Physiology, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, USA

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Medical Gas Research 2013, 3:4  doi:10.1186/2045-9912-3-4

Published: 1 February 2013


Xenon is a medical gas capable of establishing neuroprotection, inducing anesthesia as well as serving in modern laser technology and nuclear medicine as a contrast agent. In spite of its high cost, its lack of side effects, safe cardiovascular and organoprotective profile and effective neuroprotective role after hypoxic-ischemic injury (HI) favor its applications in clinics. Xenon performs its anesthetic and neuroprotective functions through binding to glycine site of glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor competitively and blocking it. This blockage inhibits the overstimulation of NMDA receptors, thus preventing their following downstream calcium accumulating cascades. Xenon is also used in combination therapies together with hypothermia or sevoflurane. The neuroprotective effects of xenon and hypothermia cooperate synergistically whether they are applied synchronously or asynchronously. Distinguishing properties of Xenon promise for innovations in medical gas field once further studies are fulfilled and Xenon’s high cost is overcome.

Xenon; Hypoxia; Ischemia; Neuroprotection; Anesthesia; Hypothermia; NMDA