Excitotoxicity and Cell Damage

What Is Excitotoxicity?

The pathological process by which nerve cells are damage and killed, excitotoxicity results from overstimulation. Elevated glutamate is the main culprit involved in excitotoxicity, as it is an excitatory neurotransmitter that activates the electrical signaling in nerve cells. As glutamate levels increase too rapidly, the nerve cell essentially becomes “jammed” and is stuck in the open position. This open position allows calcium to flow into the cell without regulation, causing damage to the DNA structure of the cell and resulting in several other damaging reactions.

The main component associated with excitotoxicity is damaged nerve cells; however, this damage is typically responsible for a variety of other conditions. Several common conditions can be linked to excitotoxicity including stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and spinal injuries. The damage to nerve cells generally results in neurological symptoms that vary based on which cells are damaged and to what extent the cells are damaged.

Glutamate production is a natural function within the body; however, this increased production is what causes health concerns. Common causes of this uncontrolled phenomenon include brain and spinal injury and the intake of toxic foods.

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List of Remedies for Excitotoxicity