Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a well characterized molecule required for the survival and differentiation of a variety of cell types both in the peripheral and central nervous system. Numerous studies published in recent years have demonstrated that NGF affects different functional activities of mature immune and hematopoietic cells. Other studies have revealed that hematopoietic progenitor cells from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood and peripheral blood are receptive to the action of NGF and that bone marrow stromal cells produce/respond to NGF during different steps of normal hematopoiesis. Elevated levels of NGF have been found in a number of inflammatory diseases, including those of autoimmune nature and in myeloproliferative pathologies. This review presents these data and discusses the hypothesis of a possible functional role of NGF in immune and hematopoietic disorders.
Copyright 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.