Traumatic brain injury (TBI) elicits a complex secondary injury response, with neuroinflammation as a crucial central component. Long thought to be solely a deleterious factor, the neuroinflammatory response has recently been shown to be far more intricate, with both beneficial and detrimental consequences depending on the timing, magnitude and specific immune composition of the response post-injury. Despite extensive preclinical and clinical research into mechanisms of secondary injury after TBI, no effective neuroprotective therapy has been identified, with potential candidates repeatedly proving disappointing in the clinic. The neuroinflammatory response offers a promising avenue for therapeutic targeting, aiming to quell the deleterious consequences without influencing its function in providing a neurotrophic environment supportive of repair. The present review firstly describes the findings of recent clinical trials that aimed to modulate inflammation as a means of neuroprotection. Secondly, we discuss promising multifunctional and single-target anti-inflammatory candidates either currently in trial, or with ample experimental evidence supporting clinical application. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI:Brain injury and recovery.
- Traumatic brain injury