Neurofilament functions in health and disease

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1999 Oct;9(5):554-60. doi: 10.1016/S0959-4388(99)00004-5.


Transgenic approaches have recently been used to investigate the functions of neuronal intermediate filaments. Gene knockout studies have demonstrated that neurofilaments are not required for axogenesis and that individual neurofilament proteins play distinct roles in filament assembly and in the radial growth of axons. The involvement of neurofilaments in disease is supported by the discovery of novel mutations in the neurofilament heavy gene from cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and by reports of neuronal death in mouse models expressing neurofilament and alpha-internexin transgenes. However, mouse studies have shown that axonal neurofilaments are not required for pathogenesis caused by mutations in superoxide dismutase and that increasing perikaryal levels of neurofilament proteins may even confer protection in this disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Targeting
  • Health
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Neurofilament Proteins / physiology*


  • Neurofilament Proteins