Sensing life: regulation of sensory neuron survival by neurotrophins

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2002 Nov;59(11):1787-802. doi: 10.1007/pl00012506.


Neurotrophins are a family of structurally and functionally related neurotrophic factors which, in mammals, include: nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), and NT-4/5. In addition to their canonical role in promoting neuronal survival, these molecules appear to regulate multiple aspects of the development of the nervous system in vertebrates, including neuronal differentiation, axon elongation and target innervation, among others. Actions of neurotrophins and of their receptors in vivo are being analyzed by loss-of-function or gain-of-function experiments in mice. Here, we review the phenotypes of the primary sensory system in these mutant mouse strains and the different strategies specifically involved in the regulation of neuronal survival by neurotrophins in this portion of the nervous system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / cytology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases*
  • Receptor, trkC / metabolism
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor
  • neurotrophin 4(5) receptor
  • Ntrk2 protein, mouse
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor, trkC