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PURPOSE: To analyze the main aspects of neuroprotection and excitotoxicity. DISCUSSION: This is a significant theory on the pathophysiology of cerebral ischemia; it is based on the release of excitatory aminoacid (EAA), mainly glutamate. The sequence starts with a decrease of the blood flow and ends in neuronal death. The main stages of this reaction are herein presented and discussed. An in depth study of the effects of the excessive intracellular calcium is undertaken. Neuroprotectors (NP)doi:10.1590/s0004-282x2000000300030 pmid:10920427 fatcat:bszi2pod2bgebgjraqyrnupohy