Neuroprotective Potential of GDF11: Myth or Reality?

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jul 21;20(14):3563. doi: 10.3390/ijms20143563.


In the brain, aging is accompanied by cellular and functional deficiencies that promote vulnerability to neurodegenerative disorders. In blood plasma from young and old animals, various factors such as growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11), whose levels are elevated in young animals, have been identified. The blood concentrations of these factors appear to be inversely correlated with the age-related decline of neurogenesis. The identification of GDF11 as a "rejuvenating factor" opens up perspectives for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. As a pro-neurogenic and pro-angiogenic agent, GDF11 may constitute a basis for novel therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: GDF11; neuroprotection; rejuvenating factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / genetics*
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Growth Differentiation Factors / genetics*
  • Growth Differentiation Factors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / genetics
  • Neurogenesis / genetics
  • Neuroprotection / genetics*
  • Rejuvenation


  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • GDF11 protein, human
  • Growth Differentiation Factors