Background and Objective: Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in both
developed and developing countries all over the world. The only drug for ischemic stroke approved by
FDA is recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA). However, only 2-5% stroke patients receive
rtPAs treatment due to its strict therapeutic time window. As ischemic stroke is a complex disease involving
multiple mechanisms, medications with multi-targets may be more powerful compared with
single-target drugs. Dl-3-n-Butylphthalide (NBP) is a synthetic compound based on l-3-n-
Butylphthalide that is isolated from seeds of Apium graveolens. The racemic 3-n-butylphthalide (dl-
NBP) was approved by Food and Drug Administration of China for the treatment of ischemic stroke in
2002. A number of clinical studies indicated that NBP not only improved the symptoms of ischemic
stroke, but also contributed to the long-term recovery. The potential mechanisms of NBP for ischemic
stroke treatment may target different pathophysiological processes, including anti-oxidant, antiinflammation,
anti-apoptosis, anti-thrombosis, and protection of mitochondria et al.
Conclusion: In this review, we have summarized the research progress of NBP for the treatment of
ischemic stroke during the past two decades.