One of the most important causes of brain injury in the neonatal period is a perinatal hypoxic-ischemic event. This devastating condition can lead to long-term neurological deficits or even death. After hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, a variety of specific cellular mechanisms are set in motion, triggering cell damage and finally producing cell death. Effective therapeutic treatments against this phenomenon are still unavailable because of complex molecular mechanisms underlying hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. After a thorough understanding of the mechanism underlying neural plasticity following hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, various neuroprotective therapies have been developed for alleviating brain injury and improving long-term outcomes. Among them, the endocannabinoid system emerges as a natural system of neuroprotection. The endocannabinoid system modulates a wide range of physiological processes in mammals and has demonstrated neuroprotective effects in different paradigms of acute brain injury, acting as a natural neuroprotectant. The aim of this review is to study the use of different therapies to induce long-term therapeutic effects after hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, and analyze the important role of the endocannabinoid system as a new neuroprotective strategy against perinatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury.
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