Neurotrophins: from enthusiastic expectations through sobering experiences to rational therapeutic approaches

Nat Neurosci. 2002 Nov;5 Suppl:1046-50. doi: 10.1038/nn938.


Despite high enthusiasm, early attempts to develop clinical treatments based on animal research with neurotrophins were not successful. Here we survey clinical trials with neurotrophins, compared with neurotrophic factors of other gene families, and delineate the most likely reasons for their failure. We then suggest improved methods for regulated local supply of NTs to specific populations of neurons and discuss future therapeutic procedures evolving from the more detailed knowledge of the signal transduction pathways activated by neurotrophins via their receptors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / adverse effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / trends*
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Evaluation / adverse effects
  • Drug Evaluation / trends*
  • Drug Industry / trends
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / adverse effects*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / pharmacokinetics
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Treatment Failure


  • Nerve Growth Factors