Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder for which there is currently no effective therapy. Over the past several decades, there has been a considerable interest in neuroprotective therapies using trophic factors to alleviate the symptoms of PD. Neurotrophic factors (NTFs) are a class of molecules that influence a number of neuronal functions, including cell survival and axonal growth. Experimental studies in animal models suggest that members of neurotrophin family and GDNF family of ligands (GFLs) have the potent ability to protect degenerating dopamine neurons as well as promote regeneration of the nigrostriatal dopamine system. In clinical trials, although no serious adverse events related to the NTF therapy has been reported in patients, they remain inconclusive. In this chapter, we attempt to give a brief overview on several different growth factors that have been explored for use in animal models of PD and those already used in PD patients.
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