Physiology of the neurotrophins

Annu Rev Neurosci. 1996;19:289-317. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ne.19.030196.001445.

Abstract

The neurotrophins are a small group of dimeric proteins that profoundly affect the development of the nervous system of vertebrates. Recent studies have established clear correlations between the survival requirements for different neurotrophins of functionally distinct subsets of sensory neurons. The biological role of the neurotrophins is not limited to the prevention of programmed cell death of specific groups of neurons during development. Neurotrophin-3 in particular seems to act on neurons well before the period of target innervation and of normally occurring cell death. In animals lacking functional neurotrophin or receptor genes, neuronal numbers do not seem to be massively reduced in the CNS, unlike in the PNS. Finally, rapid actions of neurotrophins on synaptic efficacy, as well as the regulation of their mRNAs by electrical activity, suggest that neurotrophins might play important roles in regulating neuronal connectivity in the developing and in the adult central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Survival
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Neurotrophin 3
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiology
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Vertebrates

Substances

  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Neurotrophin 3
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases