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Neurochem Res. 1996 Jul;21(7):831-41.

The response of motoneurons to neurotrophins.

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Department of Neurology, University of W├╝rzburg.


The ongoing search for neurotrophic factors for motoneurons has led to the identification of a number of molecules which regulate motoneuron survival and function. Among these factors, the neurotrophins brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) and NT-4/5 but not nerve growth factor (NGF), can prevent embryonic and postnatal motoneuron cell death in a variety of experimental paradigms. Analysis of expression of p75, trkB and trkC-components of the neurotrophin receptors-supports a potential physiological role for these factors as muscle- and glial-derived trophic factors for motoneurons. However, the survival of motoneurons during embryonic development is not reduced in the absence of BDNF, NT-3 or NT-4, as revealed by gene knockout experiments. This points to the involvement of additional trophic factors in the regulation of embryonic and postnatal motoneuron survival. The purpose of this review is to bring together the often prophetic observations from earlier studies-prior to the identification and characterization of these neurotrophins-with more recent results.

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