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Int J Mol Sci. 2013 May 13;14(5):10122-42. doi: 10.3390/ijms140510122.

TrkB receptor signalling: implications in neurodegenerative, psychiatric and proliferative disorders.

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  • 1Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University, F10A, 2 Technology Place, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia.


The Trk family of receptors play a wide variety of roles in physiological and disease processes in both neuronal and non-neuronal tissues. Amongst these the TrkB receptor in particular has attracted major attention due to its critical role in signalling for brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 (NT3) and neurotrophin-4 (NT4). TrkB signalling is indispensable for the survival, development and synaptic plasticity of several subtypes of neurons in the nervous system. Substantial evidence has emerged over the last decade about the involvement of aberrant TrkB signalling and its compromise in various neuropsychiatric and degenerative conditions. Unusual changes in TrkB signalling pathway have also been observed and implicated in a range of cancers. Variations in TrkB pathway have been observed in obesity and hyperphagia related disorders as well. Both BDNF and TrkB have been shown to play critical roles in the survival of retinal ganglion cells in the retina. The ability to specifically modulate TrkB signalling can be critical in various pathological scenarios associated with this pathway. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms underlying TrkB signalling, disease implications and explore plausible ameliorative or preventive approaches.

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