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Cell Tissue Res. 2004 Oct;318(1):73-80. Epub 2004 Aug 6.

Factors promoting survival of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons.

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  • Department Neuroanatomy, Medical Faculty, Center for Molecular Physiology of the Brain, University of Göttingen, Kreuzbergring 36, 37075 Göttingen, Germany. kkriegl@gwdg.de


Growth factors promoting survival of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons are discussed in the context of their requirement during development and adulthood. The expression of growth factors should be detectable in the nigrostriatal system during critical periods of development, i.e., during the period of ontogenetic cell death and synaptogenesis and during neurite extension and neurotransmitter synthesis. Growth factors discussed include members of the family of glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factors (GDNF), neurotrophins, transforming growth factors beta, and low molecular compounds mimicking growth factor activities. To date, the available data support the notion that GDNF is a highly promising candidate, although GDNF-null mice lack a dopaminergic phenotype. There remains a possibility that endogenous dopaminotrophic factors remain to be discovered.

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