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Neurobiol Dis. 2017 Jan;97(Pt B):80-89. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2016.01.021. Epub 2016 Jan 29.

Biology of GDNF and its receptors - Relevance for disorders of the central nervous system.

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Department of Physiology, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117597, Singapore; Life Sciences Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117456, Singapore; Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm S-17177, Sweden; Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Wallenberg Research Centre at Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa. Electronic address:
Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki 00014, , Finland.


A targeted effort to identify novel neurotrophic factors for midbrain dopaminergic neurons resulted in the isolation of GDNF (glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor) from the supernatant of a rat glial cell line in 1993. Over two decades and 1200 papers later, the GDNF ligand family and their different receptor systems are now recognized as one of the major neurotrophic networks in the nervous system, important for the development, maintenance and function of a variety of neurons and glial cells. The many ways in which the four members of the GDNF ligand family can signal and function allow these factors to take part in the control of multiple types of processes, from neuronal survival to axon guidance and synapse formation in the developing nervous system, to synaptic function and regenerative responses in the adult. In this review, we will briefly summarize basic aspects of GDNF signaling mechanisms and receptor systems and then review our current knowledge of the physiology of GDNF activities in the central nervous system, with an eye to its relevance for neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases.


GDNF; Neuropsychiatric disorders; Parkinson's disease

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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