Traffic at the intersection of neurotrophic factor signaling and neurodegeneration

Trends Neurosci. 2003 Feb;26(2):73-80. doi: 10.1016/S0166-2236(02)00038-3.


Advances in understanding the biology of neurotrophic factors and their signaling pathways have provided important insights into the normal growth, differentiation and maintenance of neurons. Stimulated by neuropathological observations and genetic discoveries, studies in cell and animal models of neurodegenerative disorders have begun to clarify pathogenetic mechanisms. We examine the intersection of these research themes and identify several potential mechanisms for linking failed neurotrophic factor signaling to neurodegeneration. Studies of nerve growth factor signaling in a mouse model of Down syndrome encourage the views that neuronal dysfunction and atrophy might be linked to failed neurotrophic support and that additional studies focused on this possibility would enhance our understanding of the mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders and their treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Down Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism*
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Plaque, Amyloid / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Tauopathies / metabolism
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • tau Proteins