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Neurobiol Aging. 1994 Mar-Apr;15(2):249-51.

Neurotrophic growth factors and neurodegenerative diseases: therapeutic potential of the neurotrophins and ciliary neurotrophic factor.

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., Tarrytown, NY 10591-6707.


The recent molecular cloning of BDNF and CNTF based on traditional protein purification and protein sequencing and the identification and cloning of NT-3 and NT-4 by homology cloning strategies has led to a tremendous flurry of interest in the biology of these proteins and initiation of studies to assess their potential utility in neurological disorders ranging through degenerative disease, stroke and ischemia, trauma and peripheral neuropathies. Tissue culture studies have been very useful in identifying neuronal specificities of the neurotrophins and CNTF and in combination with localization studies of these growth factors and their receptors have provided the basis for in vivo studies. Initial animal studies with BDNF indicate efficacy of BDNF in models of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and small fiber sensory neuropathy. Studies with CNTF have similarly progressed from in vitro findings, especially the discovery that CNTF is a growth factor for motor neurons, to in vivo findings where CNTF has been shown to be effective in slowing symptoms of motor neuron dysfunction in three genetic models. Based on these positive animal data, CNTF is currently in clinical trials for the potential treatment of motor neuron disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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