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Acta Neuropathol. 2007 Jun;113(6):607-26. Epub 2007 May 10.

Different networks, common growth factors: shared growth factors and receptors of the vascular and the nervous system.

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  • 1Institute of Neurology (Edinger Institute), Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


Growth factors and their respective receptors are key regulators during development and for homeostasis of the nervous system. In addition, changes in growth factor function, availability or downstream signaling is involved in many neuropathological disorders like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke and brain tumours. Research of the recent years revealed that some growth factors, initially discovered as neural growth factors are also affecting blood vessels [e.g. nerve growth factor (NGF) or brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)]. Likewise, vascular growth factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which was previously described as an endothelial cell specific mitogen, also affect neural cells. The discovery of shared growth factors affecting the vascular and the nervous system is of relevance for potential therapies of vascular and neurological diseases. This review aims to give an overview about the growing field of common growth factors and receptors within the two different networks.

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