Neurotrophins and lung disease

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2003 Dec;14(6):551-8. doi: 10.1016/s1359-6101(03)00061-3.


Neurotrophins are growth factors that exert multiple actions on neuronal and nonneuronal cells. Neurotrophin receptors are expressed on central and peripheral neurons, lymphocytes, monocytes, mast cells, and fibroblasts. In accordance with the distribution of their receptors, neurotrophins control the development and function of neurons and regulate inflammatory processes. Production of neurotrophins is altered in asthma, lung cancer, and pulmonary fibrosis. Evidence from animal models has implicated nerve growth factor (NGF) as a mediator of pulmonary inflammation, bronchoconstriction, and airway hyperreactivity, all of which are hallmarks of asthma. NGF regulates the growth of lung tumor cells and cultured lung fibroblasts. Thus neurotrophins, particularly NGF, are candidate molecules for regulating disease processes in asthma, lung cancer, and pulmonary fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Ligands
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor