Stroke is a major clinical problem, and acute pharmacological intervention with neuroprotective agents has so far been unsuccessful. Recently, there has been considerable interest in the potential therapeutic benefit of nitrone-derived free radical trapping agents as neuroprotective agents. Nitrone compounds have been shown to be beneficial in animal models of various diseases, and the prototypic compound '-phenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone (PBN) has been extensively demonstrated to be neuroprotective in rat models of transient and permanent focal ischemia. The nitrone radical trapping agent disodium 2,4-disulfophenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone (NXY-059) has also been shown to be neuroprotective in these models. Furthermore, it has recently been shown to improve neurological function and reduce infarct volume in a primate model of permanent focal ischemia even when given 4 hr postocclusion. While radical trapping activity is demonstrable with NXY-059 and other nitrone compounds such as PBN, this activity is weak. Arguments for and against ascribing radical trapping as the therapeutic mechanism of action are discussed. This compound is well tolerated in human stroke patients and can be administered to produce plasma concentrations exceeding those effective in animal models; crucially, at the same time, it has also been shown to be effective in animal models. NXY-059 may thus be the first compound to be examined in stroke patients using drug exposure and time to treatment that have been shown to be effective in animal models of stroke.
Green, A. R., Ashwood, T., Odergren, T., & Jackson, D. M. (2003). Nitrones as neuroprotective agents in cerebral ischemia, with particular reference to NXY-059. Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 100(3), 195-214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pharmthera.2003.07.003