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Neurotrophic Factors - A Tool for Therapeutic Strategies in Neurological,Neuropsychiatric and Neuroimmunological Diseases?

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Nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) belong to the protein family of neurotrophins. They both display profound neuromodulatory functions and are essentially involved in the survival and homeostatic maintenance of central and peripheral neurons during development and adulthood. Moreover, NGF and BDNF are known to modulate immune cell function and thus serve as mediators in the reciprocal cross talk between neurons and immune cells. Neurotrophic factors have been implicated in pathophysiological mechanisms of many diseases of the nervous and the immune system, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease (AD), neuropathy, pain, allergic bronchial asthma (BA) and neurotrophic keratitis. For all these diseases research has reached the point of creating strategies for therapeutic intervention with neurotrophins. In this review, we present an overview of the pathophysiology, therapeutic interventions and strategies concerning NGF and BDNF in the mentioned diseases.
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Keywords: Asthma; Neurotrophin receptors; amyloid-precursor protein; anti-inflammatory; glial-derived neurotrophic factor; streptozotoxin

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Immunology, Allergology and Immunotoxicology, Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine,Nikolai-Fuchs Strasse 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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