Neurotrophic factors--a tool for therapeutic strategies in neurological, neuropsychiatric and neuroimmunological diseases?

Curr Med Chem. 2007;14(22):2318-29. doi: 10.2174/092986707781745578.


Nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) belong to the protein family of neurotrophins. They both display profound neuromodulatory functions and are essentially involved in the survival and homeostatic maintenance of central and peripheral neurons during development and adulthood. Moreover, NGF and BDNF are known to modulate immune cell function and thus serve as mediators in the reciprocal cross talk between neurons and immune cells. Neurotrophic factors have been implicated in pathophysiological mechanisms of many diseases of the nervous and the immune system, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease (AD), neuropathy, pain, allergic bronchial asthma (BA) and neurotrophic keratitis. For all these diseases research has reached the point of creating strategies for therapeutic intervention with neurotrophins. In this review, we present an overview of the pathophysiology, therapeutic interventions and strategies concerning NGF and BDNF in the mentioned diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Keratitis / drug therapy
  • Keratitis / physiopathology
  • Nerve Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Nerve Growth Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / metabolism


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Nerve Growth Factor