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Trends Neurosci. 2003 Feb;26(2):73-80.

Traffic at the intersection of neurotrophic factor signaling and neurodegeneration.

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Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University Medical Center, 1201Welch Rd, MSLS Building, Stanford, CA 94305-5489, USA.


Advances in understanding the biology of neurotrophic factors and their signaling pathways have provided important insights into the normal growth, differentiation and maintenance of neurons. Stimulated by neuropathological observations and genetic discoveries, studies in cell and animal models of neurodegenerative disorders have begun to clarify pathogenetic mechanisms. We examine the intersection of these research themes and identify several potential mechanisms for linking failed neurotrophic factor signaling to neurodegeneration. Studies of nerve growth factor signaling in a mouse model of Down syndrome encourage the views that neuronal dysfunction and atrophy might be linked to failed neurotrophic support and that additional studies focused on this possibility would enhance our understanding of the mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders and their treatment.

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