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Neurotherapeutics. 2011 Oct;8(4):694-703. doi: 10.1007/s13311-011-0074-9.

Neurotrophins: potential therapeutic tools for the treatment of spinal cord injury.

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  • 1Neurobiology Section, Biological Sciences Division, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0366, USA.


Spinal cord injury permanently disrupts neuroanatomical circuitry and can result in severe functional deficits. These functional deficits, however, are not immutable and spontaneous recovery occurs in some patients. It is highly likely that this recovery is dependent upon spared tissue and the endogenous plasticity of the central nervous system. Neurotrophic factors are mediators of neuronal plasticity throughout development and into adulthood, affecting proliferation of neuronal precursors, neuronal survival, axonal growth, dendritic arborization and synapse formation. Neurotrophic factors are therefore excellent candidates for enhancing axonal plasticity and regeneration after spinal cord injury. Understanding growth factor effects on axonal growth and utilizing them to alter the intrinsic limitations on regenerative growth will provide potent tools for the development of translational therapeutic interventions for spinal cord injury.

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