CNTF, a pleiotropic cytokine: emphasis on its myotrophic role

Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2004 Dec;47(1-3):161-73. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2004.07.010.


Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) is a cytokine whose neurotrophic and differentiating effects over cells in the central nervous system (CNS) have been clearly demonstrated. This article summarizes the general characteristics of CNTF, its receptor and the signaling pathway that it activates and focuses on its effects over skeletal muscle, one of its major target tissues outside the central nervous system. The evidence for the existence of other molecules that signal through the same complex as CNTF is also reviewed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / growth & development*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / metabolism*
  • Peripheral Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Receptor, Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Receptor, Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor