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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2003 Jun;131(2):80-4.

Nerve growth factor: neurotrophin or cytokine?

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Institute of Neurobiology and Molecular Medicine, Italian National Research Council (INMM-CNR), Rome, Italy.


Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a neutrophin exerting an important role in the development and functions of the central and peripheral nervous system. However, it has recently been documented that several immune cells - such as mast cells, lymphocytes and eosinophils - produce, store and release NGF. Moreover, NGF high and low affinity receptors are widely expressed in the immune system, thus indicating the potential of responding to this neurotrophin through an autocrine mechanism. In fact, NGF influences development differentiation, chemotaxis and mediator release of inflammatory cells as well as fibroblast activation through a complex network influenced by other pro-inflammatory cytokines. Finally, NGF is increased in biological fluids of several allergic, immune and inflammatory diseases. Data reviewed suggest, therefore, that NGF might also be viewed as a (Th2?) cytokine with a modulatory role in allergic inflammation and tissue remodeling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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